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Care Sector (Uniforms)

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 18th October 2011.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 2:30 pm, 18th October 2011

What representations he has received on the need for effective and clear distinction in uniforms worn by fully trained nurses and other workers in the care sector.

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Department receives occasional representations from individuals and groups about uniforms, including the need to distinguish between staff groups. Guidance is available to help employers set sensible policies and, in line with Government policy to reduce central control, we expect decisions on uniforms to be made locally.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

There is real concern about the lack of distinction between the uniforms worn by qualified nurses and care workers. The latter are free to wear whatever uniform they like and often give the impression that they are medically qualified. This presents a risk to patients, especially because more and more vulnerable elderly patients are being treated in their homes. Will the Minister look again at this to see what action could be taken to clarify the situation?

Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow The Minister of State, Department of Health

My hon. Friend has written to me about this matter on behalf of a constituent. The responsibility sits in three places: first, providers have a responsibility to provide clear information to people receiving services from them about who is providing that service; secondly, commissioners have a responsibility for how they contract for those services; and thirdly the Care Quality Commission has a responsibility to regulate those services. Undoubtedly, however, I would be more than happy to look further at the points he makes.