If you’re not yet offering healthcare uniforms, now could be the time to tap into this market sector. Images discusses the latest uniforms to grace the market
The healthcare market in the UK is varied and, in most sectors, expanding. According to the latest figures from Age UK, there are an estimated 5,153 nursing homes and 12,525 residential homes in the UK. The elderly population is growing at a rapid rate, with the number of people over 85 in the UK expected to more than double by 2040.
Also part of the healthcare sector are dental practices. All dentists and dental care professionals in the UK are regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC), which reports that there were 66,000 dental care professionals at the last count and nearly 41,000 dentists. The GDC website has a very helpful search function for those looking for local dental practices to approach with their workwear ideas.
A point that will be much appreciated by the, frankly, dog-mad world of garment decorators is that humans are not the only ones who need a bit of care when it comes to health matters. Testament to British people’s obsession with their pets is the steady growth of vet practices in the UK. The latest figures from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons reveals that there were 5,321 vet premises in the UK in 2014, up from 4,562 in 2011. The 2014 figures further reveal a count of 19,682 vets and 11,661 veterinary nurses.
Add in GPs surgeries, private hospitals, cosmetic surgery businesses and the many other purchasers of healthcare uniforms and it’s clear that this a buoyant sector and one in which decorators should consider dipping their toes (clad in a comfortable, non-slip shoe, of course).
Customisable and contemporary
Uniforms supplier, Grahame Gardner is well aware of the potential, launching the Advance collection at the end of April in response to demands from customers for more customisable and contemporary uniforms that offer increased comfort and resilience. The new line consists of six styles, which combine the latest sportswear technology with uniform design thanks to a new fabric called Aura. This, like sportswear fabrics, provides wearers with a winning combination of moisture control and durability.
Gary Lory, managing director of Grahame Gardner, comments: “We’re thrilled to launch our new Advance range after 18 months of research and development, drawing on our extensive experience within both the workwear sector and the sportswear expertise of our sister brand GForce Teamwear.”
There are two products to choose from: Cut and Sew, which offers a range of 16 colours and trim options; and Advance Dye Sublimation, which allows customers to choose any colour including Pantone matching along with any image or pattern. Customers can even use their company logos to create bespoke panels and trims.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of customers looking for more bespoke workwear solutions, who understand the importance of building and maintaining a strong brand that represents their organisation to both the people who utilise their services and their staff,” says Gary. “This range allows organisations to present a strong corporate image across their entire business by ensuring staff have workwear that truly aligns with their corporate identity.”
Another heavyweight in the healthcare sector is Premier, which says: “As a nation, we have come to expect very high standards from our healthcare professionals – a huge amount of trust and responsibility is bestowed upon these people and we see it as our job to dress them accordingly.” The brand has the wonderfully-named Vitality Tunic (PR604) and the Daisy Tunic (PR605), both of which are designed to suit the female form thanks to side and back pleats, while the curved side pockets and PU-lined pen pockets are ideal for healthcare environments. Premier distributor PenCarrie adds that, “The rounded collar with contrast piped edge and contrast piped detail on the sleeve cuff adds a professional and traditional look [to the Vitality Tunic].” The garment is washable up to 85°C in an industrial laundry and 60°C in a domestic wash.
Both Premier styles come in what the brand says are “recognised industry colours” and can be paired with the Poppy Healthcare Trouser (PR514), a women’s fit trouser that has been designed for those working long shifts. For men there is the Malvern Healthcare Tunic (PR609), which is available in navy with white contrast trim (S-3XL). “The PR609 has pointed collar styling with contrast piped edging, contrast piped detail on sleeve cuff, back pleats for fitted styling, square side pockets with contrast piped edging and covered front zip fastening and popper fastening above zip,” comments Prestige Leisure, another of Premier’s distributors.
Tunics and footwear
Orn Clothing offers a range of healthcare uniforms, which includes the semi-fitted Tonia V-Neck Tunic (8200). This has a contrast trim on the neck, back vents for ease of movement and concealed zip fastening, and comes in 12 colours. Orn’s Florence Classic Tunic (8600), which the brand calls the “essential tunic for the healthcare industry’ has a double action back for comfort, side vents and concealed zip to prevent possible scratching; the Darwin Male Tunic (8500) features a contrast trim on collar, double action back for comfort and side vents; and the Newton High Collar Tunic (8400) has epaulette shoulder loops, round-stand collar, concealed asymmetric stud fastening to the right and one chest pocket and two lower pockets. All of the tunics are made from a hard-wearing, easy-care 195 gsm fabric.
Also available from Orn Clothing are the Scrub Top (8800), a unisex design with V-neck and one breast and two hip pockets, and the Scrub Trousers (8900), another unisex design, with elasticated waist, single right-front patch pocket. Both come in five colours in a 145 gsm fabric.
BTC activewear flags up three new styles from Denny’s hospitalitywear selection – the Beauty Tunic Asymmetric Stud Fastening (DA74), Beauty Tunic Asymmetric Zip Fastening (DA75) and Unisex Beauty Tunic (DA76). All are made from a long-life, super-soft feel, easy-care polyester that is suitable for industrial washing up to 65°C. Footwear is also available in the shape of the Comfort Grip Slip-On Safety Shoe (DK40) and the Comfort Grip Safety Sandal (DK41).
Karlowsky, which is exclusive to BTC activewear, also has a range of healthcare garments including the Aphrodite Wellbeing Tunic (KS60), which features short sleeves, back pleat for comfort, asymmetric front with black piping and eight black press studs; and the Harmonia Wellbeing Tunic (KS62), which has short sleeves, wide open stand-up collar and side slits. Both can be industrially laundered at 60°C and are ideal for workers in care homes, dentists or spas, says the distributor.
BTC activewear also stocks the Delta Plus footwear range, which includes a choice of the Maubec Hygiene Non Slip Clog and the Robion Hygiene Non Slip Shoe. Both are shock-resistant and have a crushproof metallic toe-cap.
No healthcare uniforms piece would be complete without Alexandra, which Ralawise describes as, “a leading provider of workwear in this sector, offering men and women’s tunics in a range of styles and colours, from dental tunics to industry-approved nurse’s tunics, with non-fade fabric to ensure a long-lasting fresh look.” New for 2016 is the AX021 women’s classic tunic (HP298). Its hip and chest pockets make the tunic practical, while the polyester/cotton fabric is hardwearing. A concealed zip ensures the tunic looks smart and professional and it has an open-ended zip front for improved infection control, says Ralawise.
For a scrub top with a difference Ralawise recommends the women’s AX014 (NF43) and men’s AX015 (NM43), both of which feature a mock wrap front neck with contrast bound edges and stretch side body panels for comfort and ease of movement. Shaped front patch pockets and contrast bound edges provide an aesthetic appearance to these hard working scrubs.