Twelve health and care ‘Christmas stars’ from Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have taken to the web to send season’s greetings in the countdown to the big day.
The 12 – who include local GPs, nurses, a midwife and a paramedic – share their thoughts on working on Christmas Day and urge residents to help them by staying well over the winter months and using the right services if they do become unwell.
Pharmacies, minor injuries units, GPs and more are available throughout the festive period and, while nobody wants to be unwell at Christmas, the message from the 12 health and care Christmas stars is: We’re here if you need us!
Tom, a paramedic and Winter Manager at South Western Ambulance Service, said: “Myself and my colleagues will be here on Christmas Day trying to make the most of it with Christmas jumper competitions… But the serious message please is to only call us with urgent emergencies and to keep safe. Merry Christmas!”
Chris, a GP working at the NHS 111 contact centre in Bradley Stoke, said: “I feel very lucky to be working on Christmas Day. I’ll be able to spend some time with my family in the morning and have lunch, and then I’ll be coming into work to address people’s medical needs… It’s never nice to be poorly at Christmas but we will be here to provide the care that you need on Christmas Day”.
Andrew, a nurse practitioner at Clevedon Minor Injuries Unit, said: “I’ve worked previous Christmases before and it can be a busy time of the year. I’ve already seen my first Christmas injury, with a shop worker being hit by a Santa’s sleigh … I’ll be here missing my family and my daughters, but we are open 10am – 6pm on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day”.
As well as paying tribute to the staff giving up their Christmas Day to care for patients and service users, the ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion at https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/xmas aims to remind local people of the range of health and care services available to them on the festive bank holidays and encourage them to use the right service for their needs.
Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “These videos are a lovely tribute to the thousands of health and care heroes who will be working on our behalf this festive season.
“Nobody wants to be unwell over Christmas but it’s reassuring to know that Tom, Chris, Andrew and their colleagues will be there if they’re needed.
“And it’s important to remember that we can all do our bit to help them out over this busy period by taking simple steps to stay well and making sure we use the right services for our needs.
“In particular, please take up the flu jab if you’re eligible and get help at the first sign of a winter illness to prevent it from getting worse.
“And remember if you think you need urgent medical attention over Christmas but it’s not a serious or life-threatening emergency, please go straight to 111 online or by phone for immediate medical help.”
Local health and care staff will also be promoting the ‘Help Us Help You’ message at Bristol’s Broadmead Christmas Market between 16-22 December. A team of volunteers from different NHS organisations will be encouraging shoppers to take a ‘Help Us Help You’ pledge to show their support for local health and care staff at their Christmas chalet near Cabot Circus.
The 12 health and care Christmas stars can be seen online at: https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/xmas