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Nurses making Christmas Day special for patients across the UK

  • Almost 90,000 nurses will be on Christmas Day duty this year, according to health union estimates.

Almost 90,000 nurses will be on Christmas Day duty this year, according to health union estimates

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: ‘Last year the Trades Union Congress estimated that 89,000 nurses, 46,000 healthcare assistants and 17,000 doctors would have been on duty on Christmas Day.

‘And so for the similar number set to be on duty on 25 December, Unite says a big "thank you" and we will continue to fight strongly for the NHS’ future in 2017.’

Festive workforce

Nurses working over Christmas have shared what being part of the festive workforce means to them.

Mandy Cooper
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
community nurse Mandy Cooper.

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust community nurse Mandy Cooper, who will be working on Boxing Day said: 'I like working over Christmas, and patients are always pleased to see you.

'You may be the only person they see that day, and I think it’s a time of year when everyone should have some social interaction.'

Making the day special

On Nursing Standard’s Facebook page, Lynda Horswell said she was working long days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but as her children were grown up, she did not mind.

‘I love making the day special for our patients too as I'm sure the ward is the last place they want to be,’ she wrote.

Deborah Marshall said Christmas Day is ‘the best’ time to work: ‘Great atmosphere, food everywhere and patients usually calm,’ she wrote.

Meanwhile Leigh Gorlesky, who works in paediatrics, said: ‘If we do have sick little ones, we will do our best to make them feel better soon.

‘If I make one child happy, that's my gift for the day.’

Palliative care nurses at Christmas

Marie Curie director of nursing Dee Sissons acknowledged that Christmas could be a difficult time of year as some struggle to come to terms with a terminal diagnosis. She then went on to praise the charity’s nurses.

She said: ‘I’m incredibly proud of our nurses who will be spending time away from their own families, so people can spend their Christmases with loved ones.

‘They’ll be helping to reassure people from managing symptoms to advice on how to conserve their energy so they can get through the day as best they can.

‘Our nurses tell me that they feel privileged to be able to help people at such an important time in their lives – that is what nursing is all about.’

Christmas presents for homeless children

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board health visitors have delivered Christmas presents to 150 homeless children in Cardiff.

Health visitor Diana Wakefield said: ‘As a health visitor to the hostels, it has been a delight to see the children’s faces when they have received their presents at the Christmas parties over the past week. 

‘Many of the children and their families have very little when they come into the accommodation, and the majority are living in one room.

‘Support staff who are in on Christmas day will be working hard to ensure that the children have the best possible time and the gifts which have been donated will go a long way to make this happen.’


Further information

  • The Marie Curie Support Line is open for free confidential support and practical information for anyone affected by terminal illness on 0800 090 2309.

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