The UK’s West Suffolk Hospital has introduced a new dress code asking clinical staff to have bare skin below the elbows, to combat the spread of healthcare-associated infections.

Rules previously in place dictate that healthcare employees are prohibited from wearing wrist watches, bracelets and rings as well as avoiding false nails and varnishes.

From now on, however, long-sleeved shirts must be rolled up to the elbows to avoid spreading infections such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA.

West Suffolk hospital executive chief nurse and director of infection prevention and control Nichole Day said that the new dress code adds to the hospital’s existing stringent infection control measures.

“Wrist watches, bracelets, rings and false nails can all trap the tiny micro-organisms which cause infection, so asking our staff to be bare below the elbows is a logical next step,” she said.

Compliance with the new rule will be regularly monitored in hand hygiene audits.