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Nursing leaders’ tribute to ‘hard-working and dedicated’ nurses working over Christmas

Nursing leaders from across the UK have paid tribute to the ‘hard-working and dedicated’ nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who will be on duty over the Christmas period.

Nursing leaders from across the UK have paid tribute to the ‘hard-working and dedicated’ nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who will be on duty over the Christmas period.


An estimated 89,000 nurses, 46,000 healthcare assistants and 17,000
doctors will spend Christmas Day on duty. Picture: Charles Milligan

The chief nursing officers (CNOs) of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have issued messages of thanks to the thousands of staff who will be spending time away from their loved ones to care for others.

Last year, the TUC estimated that 89,000 nurses, 46,000 healthcare assistants and 17,000 doctors spent Christmas Day on duty.

CNO for England Jane Cummings said: ‘I want to take this opportunity to thank all those that will be working over the Christmas and New Year period.

‘Vital’ work

‘Your hard work and dedication is vital for patients and NHS services particularly over this busy time.

‘I understand the pressures that many of you are facing and thank you for continuing to care for and treat those who need our support and expertise.

‘I wish you all an incredibly happy festive season and hope you are able to spend time with loved ones and also have some time to relax.’

Her words were echoed by CNO for Wales Jean White, who said: ‘I’ll be thinking of the many nurses and midwives working across the country as everyone celebrates Christmas.

‘Dedicated and diverse’

‘Those dedicated professionals keeping the NHS and other health and care services running 24/7, 365 days a year, and for whom 25 December is another working day.

‘I want to thank them for the commitment they show on Christmas Day and every day.’

CNO for Scotland Fiona McQueen hailed the nursing workforce as ‘one of the most dedicated and diverse’ in the country.

She added: ‘It’s especially important to thank them over the festive period when they spend some time away from families to look after others.

Taking care 

‘We should all be looking to take care of ourselves, look out for others and enjoy the festivities.’

The words of Charles Dickens were recalled by CNO of Northern Ireland Charlotte McArdle, who said: ‘I have always thought of Christmas as a good time: a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time, a time when men and women seem to open their hearts freely’.

Professor McArdle added: ‘There is no time of the year when this is more apparent than Christmas, when nurses show their true generosity to mankind.

‘I would like to thank all those working this Christmas for giving up time with their families to care for our families.’

Continue to fight

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: ‘Last year the TUC estimated that 89,000 nurses, 46,000 healthcare assistants and 17,000 doctors were 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.’

Unison’s head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘Nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, paramedics and thousands of other NHS staff will be working over the holidays doing what they do every day of the year.

Respect and reward

‘I only wish the government would recognise this by giving them the respect and reward they deserve.’

Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman said: ‘District nurses and their teams do vital work over the Christmas and New Year period, often braving extremely challenging weather conditions to reach patients at home.

‘They will be visiting vulnerable people living alone at this crucial time. They will also be giving much-needed support to carers and families who are with their relatives.’

In a Christmas message, RCN general secretary Janet Davies addressed nurses, praising their dedication to the profession, which she said ‘never wavers’, despite challenges.

Support across the board

She said: ‘In these tough times you carry on, working hard to support your patients and to support each other. Your commitment inspires me.

‘Many of you will be working over the festive period, caring for those who need us most.

‘I hope you still have the opportunity to celebrate with loved ones, and have time to reflect on the difference you have made this year.’

Ms Davies added: ‘In 2017, let’s be heard in government, let’s make sure nursing education is of excellent quality for all and that any changes to nursing are in the interests of patients and staff.’


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