While most people are tucking into their turkey or celebrating with family, dedicated NHS staff will be giving up time with loved ones to care for patients and their families.
Across the UK, more than 400,000 doctors, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and healthcare assistants will be putting on hold their celebrations this 25th December.
Dr Reji Ninan, a consultant in our Emergency Department, has volunteered to work on Christmas Day this year.
“Being in hospital over Christmas isn’t something most people would welcome, but for many healthcare professionals it is just another day,” said the father-of-two.
“People don’t stop needing our help just because it’s Christmas Day and our families and friends understand that we need to be on hand to provide care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Dr Ninan’s on-call shift starts at 4pm on Christmas Eve and finishes at 4pm on Christmas Day.
“I will celebrate Christmas initially with my work family.
“My children are now 18 and 22 years, so they understand that somebody has to work on Christmas Day and they don’t mind putting our celebrations on hold.
“They will have to wait to exchange presents and tuck into our Christmas dinner until my shift finishes at 4pm.”
It is not just our clinical staff who will be sacrificing their Christmas.
Katie Lillie, will be manning the reception desk in our Emergency Department.
“The working day is actually quite pleasant being there with other staff, and we like to hand out presents.
“Even though we are losing a day of our Christmas we are helping others, which is very important to me.”
Vanitha Regunathan, a Senior Sister, added: “I like working over Christmas – the atmosphere is good.”
Staff working Christmas Day will also be provided with a free turkey dinner courtesy of the Trust and will enjoy visits from local choirs and the organisation’s senior leaders.
Chief Executive Louise Stead said: “Christmas is a time when most people are celebrating with their family and friends, but hundreds of our staff will be coming into work and looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
“I would like to say an enormous thank you to every single one of our staff working over the festive period. It is thanks to their dedication and commitment that others will be able to enjoy the season safe in the knowledge that they are on hand 365 days a year to provide the very best care.”
The festive period, and especially the few days after Christmas, are traditionally extremely busy and it is vitally important that the Emergency Department is kept free for those who really need it.
Remember, if you need help over the festive period, when your GP or pharmacy is closed, contact NHS 111 to ensure you get the right medical attention or visit 111.nhs.uk which can direct you to a local service that is open.
The Emergency Department is for those patients requiring emergency care for serious and life-threatening conditions. People are seen in order of clinical priority and not in the order they arrive; this means an attendance with a minor injury or ailment may result in a long wait.