Hospital allows staff to wear shorts as part of heatwave plan

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Staff at the region's largest hospital have been allowed to wear shorts as part of a relaxation of its uniform policy to cope with the looming heatwave.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has adapted its staff uniform policy in response to soaring temperatures, with the region expected to experience highs of 30C and above on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

The changes see workers permitted to wear tailored shorts and ditch tights if they are part of their uniform in an effort to keep cool in the workplace.

It is part of a raft of measures being brought in at the hospital to help patients and staff cope in the heat.

This includes the hospital adding extra refreshment rounds and encouraging patients to take up cold meals instead of hot and food with high water content.

A spokesman for the NNUH said: "We have a heatwave plan in place, which includes a number of actions to reduce the impact of the heat on staff and patients.

"This includes keeping windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day and open at night, closing blinds and turning off non-essential lights and electrical equipment.

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"The plan also includes extra refreshments rounds and the offering of cold drinks and to monitor the fluid intake of at-risk individuals, as well as recommending cold foods and foods with high water content."

Nationally, nurses have complained that they have wrongfully been banned from drinking water at their stations, with some hospitals mistakenly thinking this to be an infection control measure.

However, the NNUH has no such ban in place.

The spokesman added: "We are encouraging our staff to take regular breaks and stay hydrated during shifts. There is no ban on staff drinking water on wards.

"We have also made hot weather adjustments so that those who wear uniform can remove tights and tailored shorts are permitted.

"Scrubs are also available to staff."

Meanwhile, the region's ambulance service has also stocked up on additional refreshments to help its staff and patients keep hydrated.

The heat, coupled with "extreme pressure", has seen the East of England Ambulance Service Trust placed at its highest level of alert - along with every other ambulance trust in the country.