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Rant on Uniforms

Regulars | Summer 2017



'What strikes me in hospitals is that patients now look smarter than the nurses' says Roger Lewis

What strikes me in hospitals is that patients now look smarter than the nurses. Spotless pinafore aprons, starched cotton caps, shoulder-cloaks with a blood-red lining and a tailored dress with a nipped-in waist all disappeared round about the time Barbara Windsor stopped waddling up and down the wards. Since the Nineties, nurses have been allowed to wear trainers or rubber clogs instead of shoes, ill-fitting murky grey-blue tunics (called ‘scrubs’) instead of dresses, and lumpy polyester trousers instead of black tights. They are indistinguishable from the cleaning staff. When did it become compulsory to look casual? Even nuns now look rubbish. We no longer see them floating about in pairs with elaborate, sculpted headgear, the wimples and coifs that flap like angel-wings throughout Fellini movies. Nuns wear cardigans from Marks & Spencer. I recall postmen and railway porters in charcoal-coloured uniforms with red piping. They wore peaked caps with brass...

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