As hospitals across the country struggle to manage budgets, the HSE has been criticised for focusing its attention on exposed cleavage and midriffs, according to a draft dress code issued to staff.
Short mini-skirts, low-cut T-shirts, and other revealing female apparel are included in a hitlist drawn up by the HSE Mid-West in a 10-page document issued to all staff at the Mid-West Regional, Croom Orthopaedic, Regional Maternity, Nenagh general, and Ennis general hospitals.
Dress considered to be unacceptable include:
* Backless tops or dress garments which reveal excessive cleavage or the midriff;
* Halter-neck tops;
* Skin-tight clothing;
* Micro-skirts or very short mini-skirts;
* Low cut dresses or short tops/T-shirts.
The HSE also wants to ban artificial nails, nail jewellery, and nail polish.
Also included in the HSE “no no” list are tattoos, which they say may be seen as provocative and they want them covered while staff are at work.
Andy Pike, assistant general secretary of Impact, said the draft dress code was over-the-top at a time when the hospital workers were under severe pressure. He said the union had consulted its members and given their response to the HSE.
“No agreement has been reached. Some of the proposals are over the top. There may be one or two people with whom the HSE may have a problem with regarding dress.
“Instead of dealing with these individually to ensure they dress appropriately a whole new policy has now been drawn up. It’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut, at a time we feel that all the efforts of the HSE should be focused to deal with the €30m deficit in the Mid-West hospitals.
“There are better things for management to be doing.”
Mr Pike said they were awaiting the HSE response to the union submission.
The HSE proposes that failure to adhere to policy on dress could result in disciplinary proceedings and ultimately dismissal.