Jane Bates: My message to NHS managers this festive season

Our columnist’s thoughts turn to Christmas, killjoys… and rhyming couplets

Our columnist’s thoughts turn to Christmas, killjoys… and rhyming couplets

Jane Bates

’Twas the night before Christmas, a stranger appeared,

Holding a clipboard, sporting a beard.

Who’s this, cried the nurses, as they showed him the door,

“I’m NHS Top Brass, need I say more?

I’ve come to observe you and make sure you don’t

Take seasonal liberties, as is your wont.


“This Christmas tree, you can kiss it goodbye.

It harbours staph aureus, and E Coli,

(Whatever they are, I don’t really know,)

But the baubles, the tinsel, they’ll all have to go.

What do you mean, it makes things look jolly?

The ivy is poisonous, so is the holly.


“And what do I hear, is that somebody singing? 

A church choir, oh no, not glad tidings they’re bringing?

They shouldn’t be here, get rid of them quick;

All that love, peace and joy, it makes me feel sick.

So what they bring presents to cheer up the poorly,

This could be deemed inappropriate, surely?


“And how can they sing of a babe in a manger?

Don’t they know that it puts us in danger

Of offending all other faiths, and those without any.   

Have I asked them? Of course not, I don’t know too many.

But you must understand this is rudimentary

To political correctness in the 21st century.


“And what am I seeing at the nurses’ station?

I must intervene in this dire situation.

A tin of sweeties and glasses of water.

Can’t you understand that you really oughta

Not eat and drink unless on a break,

Which I really don’t care you’re too busy to take.


“I’m off – my family await me indoors;

I’m frankly not bothered you’re not seeing yours

’Til the day after Boxing Day. Just think of the money!

Okay, okay, I’m not trying to be funny…

Stop waving that catheter tubing at me!

I’m NHS Top Brass, and I think I should flee…”

Jane Bates is an ophthalmic nurse in Hampshire 

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