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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Doctors and pharmacists told not to wear their white coats outside of medical facilities

Ministry voices concern over germs 

A doctor and a nurse push a patient through a hospital corridor. Jaime Puebla / The National
A doctor and a nurse push a patient through a hospital corridor. Jaime Puebla / The National

Doctors and other health professionals should not wear white lab-style coats outside of sterile medical facilities to cut the risk of transmitting germs.

The Ministry of Health issued the notice on Saturday after officials noticed a trend of them being worn to meetings, conferences and mosques.

Medical students should also ensure they are not worn on campuses or outside or hospitals and clinics.

Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Public Health Policy and Licensing department, said previous warnings have not been heeded.

“Some health practitioners and medical students were seen wearing their white coats while inside mosques and markets or attending meetings, conferences, and seminars,” he said.

He said there remains a risk of picking up bacteria.

Dr Al Amiri said that the ministry is considering banning white coats altogether.

White coats remain relatively common in UAE hospitals and pharmacies, allowing patients to distinguish between doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

The UK banned medical staff from wearing white coats in 2008 to cut down on the number of cases of Clostridium difficile (C.Diff) and MRSA.

The so-called 'bare below the elbows' policy ordered by the government banned sleeves, watches, rings and other accessories.

Doctors, nurses, technicians and others almost all wear sleeveless green or blue 'scrubs' that can be easily washed at high temperatures.

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