New-look uniform leaves some medics feeling blue

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 July, 2004, 12:00am

Blue will soon be the colour of Hong Kong doctors, at least at work. They are to be given a newly designed uniform which authorities hope will help protect them from infections.

The unisex, light-blue uniforms, including a shirt and a pair of trousers, were first used at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in March before being gradually introduced to other public hospitals.

They feature a shirt with buttons on the shoulder and three pockets. On the left front is the word 'doctor' in English and Chinese.

The uniform was designed by the Public Doctors' Association which asked the Hospital Authority to provide doctors with new outfits.

But association president Wong Tak-cheung admitted that some doctors disliked the uniform.

'We have consulted all hospitals and their staff before introducing it. It is difficult to please everybody. Some people don't like the colour and some others the design,' he said.

One frontline doctor who was unhappy with the uniform said: 'I am sure patients would think I am a nurse if not for the word 'doctor' on the front. Actually, it looks like those worn by hotel bellboys. We need a better design to show our professional image.'

Hong Kong fashion designer Johanna Ho said the outfit looked good at first sight, but she had some reservations.

'My father is a surgeon, and I know what he wears when he is at the hospital - this new outfit reminds me more of the outfits that surgeons wear when they have to attend an operation,' she said.

'Also, I think it is slightly too casual and lacks superiority in relation to the important roles of their job.'

Another doctor said he did not care too much about the design. 'The important thing is the uniform can help protect us.'

Dr Wong said that before the Sars outbreak, doctors used to wear their own clothes to work.

'During Sars, frontline workers wanted a separate set of clothes at work so they would avoid taking the virus home,' he said.

He said that unlike nurses, whose uniforms indicated their rank, doctors of all grades would wear the same uniform.