Infection Prevention Society Conference 2017


BIMA’s Hijabs and Bare Below the Elbows (HBBE) team presented 4 research posters to hundreds of infection control nurses at the Infection Prevention Society conference on 18th-20th September in Manchester.

Work included 2 national research posters, a national audit and a national survey on Muslim female healthcare professionals’ experiences of Bare Below the Elbows Policy and Headscarves in Surgical Theatres. This work was undertaken at BIMA’s Muslim Women Excelling in Islam and Medicine Conference 2016.

HBBE’s research has demonstrated a pressing need to do more to improve awareness of existing Department of Health national guidance for Muslim female healthcare professionals on Bare Below the Elbows and a need for new national guidance on headscarves in surgical theatres. There is some evidence that dress codes are adversely impacting on career choices amongst some Muslim women and this data has been shared with the British Medical Association and Royal College of Surgeons.

Infection control teams showed a high degree of engagement and interest with this topic and echoed the need for more detailed guidance and assistance in this area. Teams emphasised that they were open to Muslim women commencing local discussions on this topic and reaching shared solutions that would not affect the transmission of healthcare-associated infections.

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BBE Research:



BBE Audit:



Headscarf Research:

Headscarf Survey:



BIMA’s HBBE team has produced toolkits so that Muslim women can begin these conversations locally. The toolkits can be found on the following link:



We are also committed to finding national top-down solutions and are working with:

NHS Employers
The British Medical Association
The Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Royal College of Surgeons

and other organisations to discuss solutions, national policy, and education in the coming months.


For enquiries please email [email protected]