Publish date: 07 March 2024

UCLH is making the change from single use to named reusable fabric theatre hats for staff working in operating theatres. 

The switchover has been funded by UCLH Charity and has been approved by the UCLH Infection Prevention and Control Team.   

Theatre team members at University College Hospital, The Grafton Way Building, Westmoreland Street and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery will be given their own personal supply of hats, plus a net bag to wash them in at home.  Each hat will display the name and job title of the team member, making identification easier within theatre.  

Reducing the purchase of single use items, including single use PPE, is a key focus of UCLH’s Net Zero Strategy Critical Care For Our Climate. The move to reusable hats will help to reduce the carbon footprint historically associated with the purchase and disposal of single use theatre caps, estimated at over 9,000 kg of carbon a year. 

The move is also expected to reduce costs by up to £32,000 per year. 

Having named hats will improve patient safety and experience as well.  

“There is evidence that communication between theatre team members improves when names and roles are easily visible”, explained consultant anaesthetist Dr Laura Elgie. “Plus, the move to personalised hats will also make it easier for patients to identify who they are talking to, which supports a better patient experience overall.”  

“We’re delighted to be launching these hats which have so many benefits for UCLH”, said sustainability transformation project lead, Joe Burton. “UCLH has been appointed the lead provider for reusable PPE by the North Central London Integrated Care Board and this project exemplifies how we are leading the way in this area.”