In many accident and emergency (A&E) departments doctors still wear white coats or their ordinary clothes, rather than a type of uniform, which, should it become contaminated, can be changed easily for a clean uniform. Before a change of clothing to a uniform could be considered in an inner-city A&E department, a study was carried out to assess the public's perception towards different styles of dress. Three hundred and twenty-nine questionnaires were returned by minor injury patients requiring a radiograph. The study was carried out over 3 weeks in January 1993. Each week a different style of dress was worn: week 1--white coats, week 2--normal clothing and week 3--theatre greens. The majority of patients thought that style of dress was important but did not alter their attitude towards the A&E medical staff. Therefore, there is no reason why doctors should not wear a more appropriate uniform that can be changed easily when contaminated.
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