The Portsmouth NHS staff who will spend Christmas Day helping others

WHILE you are opening your presents and tucking into your Christmas dinner this year, spare a thought for the amazing hospital staff who are dedicating their time to looking after those with injuries and illnesses.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 9:30 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:48 am
The staff at St Mary's Hospital UTC, who will be working on Christmas Day. Picture: Care UK

As well as the staff who will be working tirelessly at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, the Urgent Treatment Centre team will be on hand at St Mary's Hospital in Milton Road, Portsmouth '“ tending to any injuries and illnesses people pick up over Christmas.

The hospital is expecting a busy Christmas Day this year, saying that the festive period has become more frantic for them over the past few years.

Hospital director Penny Daniels said: '˜Christmas is becoming an increasingly busy time for us, as people realise there is an alternative to A&E for minor burns, cuts, fractures and illness.

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Vanessa Menzies from The Limes in Southsea. Picture: Supplied

'˜We have X-ray facilities, advance nurse and paramedic practitioners who can prescribe, and much shorter waiting times than you would expect at a busy general hospital.'

Visitors to the centre will be greeted by receptionist Anna Codlin, who will be working for the first time at Christmas, and Alison Levesque, who will be completing her 11th Christmas in 14 years.

Anna said: '˜I don't mind working as it lets colleagues have time with their family. We have decorated the centre with tinsel so it looks cheerful, and Alison and I have chosen some very festive jumpers to wear on the day.

Alison added: '˜I have already enjoyed a Christmas dinner with my husband, children and grandchildren.

'˜We had the full Christmas dinner, exchanged presents and had a lovely time.

'˜Christmas has become busier in the UTC over the years '“ we see cuts from people having slipped while carving their turkey and from broken glasses as they wash up, as well as people seeking support for ongoing medical problems.'

'˜I love working over Christmas '“ everyone is always so generous ...'

NHS staff members throughout the Portsmouth region will be giving up time with their loved ones to look after patients on Christmas Day.

From palliative care to infection protection, nurses are needed across the city to care for those who need it the most.

These people have shown their commitment to care and their kindhearted nature, as they look forward to taking care of people over Christmas.

Vanessa Menzies works in the Brooker Ward at The Limes in Woodlands Walk, Southsea, looking after mental health patients age 65 and over.

For 19 years, Vanessa has worked on Christmas Day '“ saying that everyone working goes the extra mile to make it a special day for those needing care.

She explained: '˜I love working over and on Christmas, because everyone is always so generous. We all try and make the ward the happiest place it can be.

'˜I get a real enjoyment working on the ward, making people happy.

'˜We have an excellent team, full of people who always go a step further '“ which is so lovely to see.

'˜It's a less formal atmosphere, so we can take on more of a friendship role, making it as homely and festive as possible, allowing our patients to forget about being patients and forget their depressing thoughts.'

Jo Hopkins, a clinical nurse specialist in palliative care, will be caring for Portsmouth residents with life-limiting conditions in their own homes.

She said: '˜I have worked in the NHS for over 33 years and have worked most of the Christmases.

'˜Visiting patients and families in their own homes is always lovely on Christmas Day '“ sometimes we are the only people they see. I think that, for the patients and their families, they're very grateful that there's someone available to call and give advice when and where they need it.'

Also visiting patients over Christmas is Olivia Birch, a Macmillan physiotherapist.

Olivia has worked in the NHS for more than 25 years, looking after people on Christmas Day for a number of years.

She said: '˜For patients who are nearing the end of their life, Christmas becomes very significant as it could be their last Christmas.

'˜Understandably people don't want to be in hospital over Christmas and we work really hard to help them return home, if they have been admitted.

'˜Sometimes my role goes beyond just the patient's immediate care '“ I advise family members on how best to help their loved ones, such as how they can help them to move about the house or access the toilet or how to support them manage tricky symptoms, like breathlessness, effectively.'