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The Southend Hospital hosts of Christmas present

22 December 2014

Health Care

Christmas, it's a time that many of us have off and get to spend at least two days, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with our families and friends.

For others it's still very much a day at work, a day that's about putting others before them and their family. Here are three stories from three different people who work at Southend Hospital about how they will experience Christmas 2014.

Father Graham Crook, Church of England Chaplain at Southend Hospital

"Christmas Day begins with the Eucharist in the hospital chapel at 8am, after which I take Holy Communion to those patients on the wards who wish to receive the Sacrament.

It is a great privilege to provide pastoral and sacramental care for the hospital over the Christmas period, and to be available to patients, their relatives, visitors and of course members of staff.

"Christmas can be a time of great stress for many people and a very emotional time for those whose relatives are in in hospital, and a great part of the ministry of the Chaplaincy is that of listening and supporting."

Debbie Stock, practice development midwife and supervisor of midwives

"It's nice working on Christmas Day, I might be away from my own family but I'm helping to make new families on the maternity ward. Every day is special here but Christmas Day even more so, just because, for many, Christmas is a time for families. We are also very much a family here on the central delivery suite.

"I'm off Boxing Day but will be back home Christmas Day evening spending time with my family, it's almost like we get two Christmas Days."

Dr Caroline Howard, consultant and clinical lead emergency medicine, A&E

"Christmas Day I am planning a relaxing day at home with my husband, plus turkey and all the trimmings. I will very likely speak to my twin sister on the phone who will be abroad and to the rest of my family in the UK. 

"I will be on call from 8am Boxing Day and working in the department from 10am so likely to plan an early night to prepare for that as I remain on call until 8am on the 27th. Boxing Day usually is very busy as sometimes people have delayed attending from the day before. It is pretty much a normal working day but we always try and see if there are any possible solutions to allow people home or restrict them as little as possible, for example holidays.

"If you can come up with some solutions it's always better getting people sorted and home for Christmas and, usually, people are a lot more grateful for it. If people are very unwell or if we have any deaths then I think people do feel a lot more upset than usual even though we do have to deal with that on a daily basis. Every day of the year we see people not having the day that they planned but at Christmas it is harder.

"We ensure we have some 'goodies' to treat ourselves in the staff room and usually these are kept well topped up by patients bringing back chocolates and cards for thanks which is always hugely appreciated by all of the staff."