Just what the doctors ordered

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012
Taranaki Base Hospital doctors march the corridors on their annual 'Walkshorts Wednesday'.
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
FASHIONISTAS: Taranaki Base Hospital doctors march the corridors on their annual 'Walkshorts Wednesday'. From left: Janine Kokje, James Wilkins, Ben Diggins, Anna Mearns, Zoe Suttor, Peter Sin, Dave Grant, Logan Wingate and Sean Lance.

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A bygone fashion trend as Kiwi as your grandmother's pavlova has been resurrected at Taranaki Base Hospital.

Yesterday marked the annual "Walkshorts Wednesday" - a day where resident medical officers or training doctors dress in walkshorts and knee-high socks.

It's a fashion that was popular among males, particularly public servants, in the 1970s.

On and off for the past 20 years, both male and female junior doctors had donned walkshorts on the last Wednesday of their contractual year.

Ensembles of walkshorts, knee-high socks, open-toed sandals and short-sleeve shirts were a welcome sight for many patients in hospital yesterday - particularly those of an older demographic, the doctors said.

"Walkshorts Wednesday" was a homage to a time when keeping cool and comfortable in the workplace was encouraged.

About 30 doctors sporting walkshorts gathered on the hospital cafeteria lawn at lunchtime yesterday for a staff photo similar to hospital staff images from the 1970s.

House surgeon Sean Lance praised the versatility of walkshorts.

"A good thing about walk shorts is they are versatile, so they're formal, but they're ready to party as well."

Medical registrar Thomas Reid, originally from Wales, said walkshorts were both practical for doctors and humorous for patients.

"The ventilation is very good.

"But most importantly it puts a smile on people's faces in times of adversity."

Back in Wales walkshorts were something of an alien concept.

"You would run the risk of frostbite if you wore them in Wales," Dr Reid said.

Hamish Wright said this year had been the best turnout for Walkshorts Wednesday in the three years he had worked at the hospital.

The concept was spreading amongst other New Zealand hospitals as well.

"The success has spread elsewhere throughout the country with rumours of other Walkshort Wednesdays taking off," Dr Wright said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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