Commenting on the Government's announcement regarding new dress code guidelines for health professionals, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Head of BMA Science and Ethics, said:
"The BMA is pleased that the government has taken on board many of the recommendations outlined in the BMA's report on reducing hospital acquired infections, for example the call to for doctors to stop wearing ties and white coats in hospitals and how it was preferable for clinicians to wear short-sleeves.
"It is very important to emphasise, however, that clean hands, bare elbows and short-sleeves are only one aspect of preventing and controlling infection. A co-ordinated approach addressing all the relevant factors, for example dress code, bed occupancy, hygiene in hospital and isolation policies, is most likely to be successful.
We must also emphasise the importance of visitors using the antiseptic gels provided when they visit hospitals. Health professionals, patients and visitors all have a role to play in reducing hospital acquired infections.
"In addition, any new guidelines on dress code must be practical, realistic, and sensitive to different religious groups."