Hospital looks at ban on Crocs

HOSPITAL bosses in Sheffield are considering a ban on staff wearing Crocs shoes after reports they could be dangerous.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said Crocs - brightly coloured rubber clogs - were not included on its dress code but it was in talks with unions and governors about changing the policy.

Hospitals in Sweden banned the footwear, claiming it created static electricity which interfered with medical equipment, but the Trust said no such incidents had been experienced in its hospitals.

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The dress code for Trust staff in Sheffield states shoes must be black, clean, low-heeled, soft-soled and supportive. The policy was developed around principles of preventing and controlling infection, health and safety and maintaining a professional image, a Trust spokesman said.

Crocs are available in 17 different colours and are made from a resin which resists bacteria and odour.

But reports suggested Trust bosses were concerned the holes in the shoes could spread infection and claimed a hospital in America said syringes could fall through the holes.

Deputy chief nurse Richard Parker, from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are aware that some of our staff prefer to wear Croc-type footwear and we are working closely with union representatives and our Governors' Council, which includes patients, staff and members of the public, to discuss this further.

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"We will thoroughly consider all aspects of infection prevention and control, health and safety, and professional image if our dress code policy is to change.

"The Trust has not experienced an incident such as those which are reported to have occurred at the Swedish hospital and has not received any specific guidance from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to indicate that any footwear should be banned as a result of interference with medical equipment."

A spokeswoman for Crocs shoes said allegations the rubber shoes generated static electricity were unfounded but they were investigating to make sure their product was suitable for medical staff. She said: "There are a number of factors that contribute to the build-up of static electricity, including temperature, humidity, flooring applications, types of material and the nature of the contact, so it is unlikely that any one factor is the sole cause."

She added that hospitals in Sweden recently reversed their decision to ban Crocs from their wards.