A Hospital Christmas

While most people were at home eating turkey, chapatis or both (!), a core of individuals were working as the most amazing team. I am compelled to write this post as I feel so proud to be part of this team and feel so strongly that our NHS services MUST be protected.

Working in frontline emergency services is also sometimes known as working on the “thin green line”. This is the line that can separate life and death.

I am one of the doctors who work on the thin green line at St Georges Hospital Emergency Department in Tooting and I am posting this to remind everyone how lucky we are to have this service in our midst and to highlight how hard the staff work to ensure our community stay safe and well.

Doctors, nurses, admin staff, porters, radiographers, domestic staff all work shifts spanning twenty-four hours, seven days a week. There are no holidays in the Emergency Department, no Christmas, no Boxing Day, just work and service provision. Staff come home to missed family moments, cold turkey cuts and fatigue. They do this with a sense of pride that they have served the patients and their families that day.

I was recently asked to do a video diary for a TV channel and it highlighted an average day for me and so many others like me. Having to stop and record my day gave me a chance to take stock. We leave the house in the dark before our babies have even woken, we work sometimes in excess of 10-12 hours without a break as it is too busy, we tell people their loved ones have died, we see extreme pain and suffering and then we return home in the dark to miss our children going to bed. We manage to stay positive despite all this and appreciate the fact that to do this work in the NHS is an honour and a privilege.

The system is stretched, in desperate need of more funding. We know the waits can be long, we really do try as hard as we can.

The next time a friend, colleague or loved one working at St Georges cannot attend a family gathering, social meeting or otherwise, spare a thought as to why that is and maybe give them a great big hug when you see them..they probably need it!


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