Strict Rules For NHS ‘Dress for Diversity Day’

Diversity managers across the NHS have been firing off emails telling staff that next Wednesday will be ‘Dress for Diversity Day’. “The idea is to encourage everyone to come to work in either their national dress (if they have one) or whatever they feel comfortable in,” wrote one diversity manager. It’s all to raise money for the Bloodwise charity. Yet NHS workers have been somewhat bemused by the FAQ document they’ve been given, which explains that many of their national outfits won’t meet strict guidelines about what frontline staff are allowed to wear:

  • Hands, wrists and lower arms must be free from clothing or jewellery
  • Jewellery, including therapeutic items, must be removed or completely covered
  • A maximum of two studs or sleeper earrings (with a diameter no greater than the size of a five pence piece) per ear are permitted
  • Dress/Skirt lengths must not be worn above the knee
  • Hair that is longer than collar length must be tied back
  • Shoes or boots must completely cover feet (front, side and heel) to provide effective protection. Shoes must be black or navy, with a low heel and laces must match. Suede, fabric or any materials that cannot be properly cleaned are not permitted
  • Boots are not permitted to be worn
  • Tights must be plain black, navy or skin coloured
  • Trousers must be formal, denim is not permitted
  • Clothes must be of a conservative nature with a modest neckline
  • Make-up, when worn, should be discreet

Sensible rules, but can’t help feeling that’ll spoil half the fun. And don’t forget the main rule of diversity managers everywhere: no cultural appropriation! 




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