Update 2 August: The Ministry of Health has informed the NSWNA that there is to be no change to the current uniform arrangements in mental health.
Consequently, our petition is no longer active.
The Concord Centre for Mental Health NSWNA Branch is leading the charge against a move by the NSW Ministry of Health to have all mental health and drug and alcohol nurses go back into uniform.
This move is being supported by some Local Health District DONs and the NSW Chief Nurse.
The NSWNA has started a petition, [no longer online], addressed to Jillian Skinner (Minister for Health) and Kevin Humphries (Minister for Mental Health) opposing this move.
Offline, we already have over 150 signatures to this petition from mental health nurses working across SLHD and SWSLHD. It was first believed that this proposal only applied to those districts, but it is now understood that the NSW Chief Nurse and the Ministry of Health are considering a proposal that all mental health clinicians (both inpatient and community) go back into uniform.
This is the petition:
To the Honourable Minister for Health/Medical Research Jillian Skinner and the Honourable Minister for Mental Health Kevin Humphries
Nurses working in mental health inpatient facilities and community mental health across Sydney Local Health District and South Western Sydney Local Health District condemn any proposal for wearing a corporate uniform to be made compulsory.
There is no evidence or logic that wearing a corporate uniform in mental health will deliver safe patient care. We consider this proposal backward looking and ill-informed.
A uniform is not the most appropriate clothing for the tasks that mental health clinicians perform. Uniforms do nothing to enhance or promote an equitable relationship between nurses and their patients. Uniforms remind mental health patients that they are in an institution when available evidence clearly supports person centred models of clinical practice.
We call upon you to oppose any compulsory requirement for mental health nurses to wear a corporate uniform.
Let us know your views about uniforms, compulsory or not – especially if you work in the mental health field.
Image credit: NSWNA