Novelty sock ban for paramedics
Ambulance chiefs are threatening to sack paramedics if they insist on wearing novelty socks.
Uniformed staff have been barred from wearing socks with images of cartoon characters, jokes and garish patterns after bosses branded them "unprofessional".
North West Ambulance Service's new uniform policy also bans wrist watches, visible body piercing, excessive make-up and certain tattoos.
Staff have been warned they could be disciplined and ultimately even sacked if they flout the dress code which forms part of their terms of employment.
However, the move have been condemned by critics who have dismissed the novelty sock ban as a step too far, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Jonathan Fox, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, said: "I am a firm believer in having a dress code but this is stretching the rules too far. The majority of staff wear boots so their socks can't even be seen.
"North West Ambulance Service should be addressing more important issues like why paramedic training has been stalled for months."
"To concentrate on socks seems fairly innocuous - it's not like there's been an epidemic of novelty sock wearing! Perhaps this is just something to divert our attention from the bigger issues."
Jon Lenney, NW Ambulance Service Director of Organisational Development, said: "We would expect our staff to wear uniforms provided and do not feel that novelty socks with slogans and images are appropriate for presenting a professional image to patients and members of the public.
"The trust does provide full uniform, including plain dark socks, and as the role of frontline staff requires physical movement socks can be visible."