Grading Gowns: Redesigning One-size PPE to Fit and Protect Female Health Workers More Effectively

About the project

This research analysed the design and procurement of PPE (personal protective equipment) for the comfort and safety of healthcare workers. It identified a number of key issues relating to gown fabrication, length, fastenings, and intended wear that impeded safe use by healthcare workers, particularly women and women from ethnic minorities. It investigated limitations in the procurement processes, based on offshore production and lack of investment in UK or reusable models of production.

Key policy recommendations include:

  • Design. Create a reusable gown system across multiple sizes to provide safe and comfortable PPE that respects cultural diversity.
  • Procurement. Invest to create localised and experienced production.
  • Create a local/national infrastructure of reusable PPE service providers.
  • Shift policy towards reusable products, including the removal of plastic (PU) coatings.

Principal Investigator

Professor Katherine Townsend
(Nottingham Trent University)

Policy Brief

Case Study

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Guidance, Messaging and Behaviour Change


Nature and Sustainability


design health inequalities NHS PPE procurement