I guess that's why they call it the blues

Wales' new NHS uniforms are being rolled out for the first time today in west Wales, and they are of course a good thing. But I was bemused by this description of the colours on the BBC website:

•  Hospital ward sisters/charge nurses and their deputies - navy blue
•  Clinical nurse specialist - royal blue
•  Staff nurse - hospital blue
•  Staff midwives - postman blue
•  Healthcare support workers - green
•  Nursery nurse - aqua green

BBC, 8 April 2010

I don't think anybody will have trouble with navy blue and royal blue ... but what on earth are "hospital blue" and "postman blue"?

Will be at all helpful to say to a woman who's just arrived at hospital after her waters have broken, "Just wait here a moment, the midwife will be along soon. You can't miss her, she'll be the one in postman blue"?

And yet, even though she will have no idea of what that colour might be, she couldn't help but marvel at the logic of putting the person in charge of deliveries in postman blue.

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James Dowden said...

That's fairly unbelievable (I wonder what was so wrong with having midwives and charge nurses share navy?). And the lack of lapels makes these especially unflattering uniforms -- I bet this was a silly attempt at pennypinching.

MH said...

I think the uniforms are fine, James. And I think the NHS staff chose them, and it must surely be up to them.

One thing is the wrong way round, though. The senior staff have darker uniforms than the junior staff. Not the Welsh way. It's the other way round with the Gorsedd, the druids get to wear white.

And there would have been good practical reasons for having senior staff in lighter uniforms. Start off with navy blue, then after a hundred or so washes it becomes royal blue, then mid blue, then light blue! It means that with a normal career progression, a nurse could keep the same uniform for years. The cost savings would be enormous ;-)

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