Surgeons wearing jeans to work? I don't think so...

Plus: The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe demonstrated his personal touch (and drilling skills) when I saw him give a speech in London

Share

A few weeks ago my husband had routine day-surgery, which entailed arriving at the hospital at the surreal time of 7.15 am. Around 8am, he was called in to different curtained-cubicles by a succession of people, who included two specialist nurses, an anaesthetist (who wasn’t going to be the anaesthetist, because he was due to knock off at 12), and a couple of scarily young doctors, one of whom – a few sentences in – introduced himself as the surgeon. Which was a good thing, because, while none of those we saw could be readily identified by their dress, the surgeon – in a T-shirt, scruffy jeans and trainers – was the least recognisable of all.

Now you might be more broad-minded than I am and say that, so long as he scrubs up properly and wields his scalpel competently, there really isn’t a problem. But I tend to think there is. And so – I was delighted to see – does a Lanarkshire hospital consultant, Stephanie Dancer, who used an article in a recent issue of the BMJ to call for doctors to dress more formally. Patients, she said, couldn’t figure out who the doctor was.

Apparently it was the ban on white coats, long sleeves, ties etc – introduced amid the panic about infections – that gave the green light for doctors to dress down. Instead of adapting their formal dress to the new requirements, it seems, they now feel free to come to work looking, frankly, as though they’ve shambled in from a hard night at the student union bar.

It can’t be beyond the wit of someone to design uniforms that would meet the hygiene requirements and require hospital doctors to wear them, can it? On a related subject, I’d also like to ask nurses to please smarten up and stop wearing their worryingly unkempt-looking tunics outside the hospital. I’ve never actually asked a uniformed nurse why she thinks it’s OK to commute in her – supposedly hygienic – working garb, but it’s only a matter of time before indignation overcomes my natural reluctance to talk to strangers.  

‘Abenomics’ starts drilling 

To Guildhall in the City, one of those ancient, outwardly modest London buildings that make you feel part of a privileged caste the moment you cross the theshold. The occasion was a speech by the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. One reason to go was that Abe has been making headlines since his election seven months ago, for fierce statements about banishing deflation and hauling Japan into the wider world. Plus, I’d never seen him in real life, and just observing someone in person inviariably tells you more than even live television can.

What impression did he make? The scion of a political family, he is entirely comfortable with power. Having resigned in 2007 because of illness, he feels that, thanks to new drugs, he has a fresh lease on life, and with that second chance, as he sees it, comes an urgent desire to get things done. Any preconceptions you might have about Japanese eschewing the personal and preferring the collective are disproved by Abe, who speaks as a one-man government. Here’s a sample: “Japan’s regulatory regime is like solid bedrock. I myself intend to serve as the drill bit that will break through that bedrock...” Imagine these words from, say, David Cameron, and the ridicule that would follow. But you never know. We’ll just have to see how Abe’s drilling goes. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn