Intended for healthcare professionals


The death of the white coat?

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:57
  1. Ayan Panja, senior registrar, general practice (
  1. Aston Clinton Surgery, Buckinghamshire

    The subject of white coats attracts varied and sometimes trenchant opinion. As one of those doctors who will never need to wear one again, I have to say that I feel indifferent about their significance. One of the reasons for my apathy is that if the coat was ever distinctive in any way I cannot see that it is now. The stark reality for proponents of white coats for doctors is that most modern hospital staff wear them regularly, and doctors probably least so. Take a look around and you'll see that it's quite a fashionable item. The woman in charge of the kitchens, the phlebotomist, the laboratory assistant, the blood porter, the electrocardiography technician, the pharmacist, the podiatrist, the dietician, and of course sprightly first year clinical students (enamoured of the mystique and novelty of the garment) all don …

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