When most of us are tucking into our lunch, eating our own bodyweight in chocolate and falling asleep in front of the TV, staff at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will be hard at work in both the community and the Manor Hospital.
From porters to community nurses, cleaners to Consultants, staff will be sacrificing time with their own loved ones to work on Christmas Day.
They include porter Roy Fox, aged 54, who has worked for the Trust for the last two years.
“I worked in a factory for 28 years before I was made redundant and we never had to work on Christmas Day but now I’ve moved here I expected it because we’re never closed! Patients still need to go to X ray and to scans we still need to deliver equipment or move equipment.”
The father-of-three, said: “I volunteered to work it – I really don’t mind as I get to be off on Boxing Day and as I’m working the early shift from7am to 3pm I can have my Christmas dinner later on with the family.
“Some of our patients haven’t got any family and they enjoy a bit of a laugh and joke with you.”
And grandfather Roy needn’t worry about working off any festive over indulgence as he reckons he walks the equivalent of around 12 miles a day on a typical shift!
Emergency Department Staff Nurse Sam Duckhouse, 35, will be working from 7.30am until 8pm on Christmas Day.
“Our family will be getting together on Boxing Day instead, I don’t really mind,” she said.
“I haven’t worked in ED on Christmas Day before but I have worked on the wards and there is quite a happy atmosphere. You have to remember that some people don’t have any family and this is a very lonely time of year for them. We might be the only people they see at Christmas time.”
Community nurses Sophie Allkins, Beth Guest, Monica Sembhi and Amy Butler based at Pinfold Health Centre will also be working.
Sophie, 24, said: “I don’t have children so I would rather my colleagues who do have children have the day off. I think it’s actually a nice day to work –our patients are so lovely and they’re always pleased to see us.”
Beth said the team wanted to make sure those who had children could spend the special day at home.
“We work it out between ourselves,” said the 24-year-old. “And, as Sophie said, our patients are brilliant, we enjoy seeing them.”
Monica will be working her first Christmas but the 26-year-old said others in her family were healthcare workers too.
"We’ll get together on the evening as I’m working 1pm-6pm but I’ll have chance to see some of them in the morning before I start work.”
Amy, 22, said patients were often apologetic that someone was having to come and see them on Christmas Day.
“But we tell them not to worry. They need support to carry on living healthily at home and we’re happy to be a part of this.”
League of Friends volunteers have kindly agreed to open up their shop by Ward 29 from 10am until 4pm on Christmas Day.
Roy Perrins will work with Phil Williams.Last year Roy took a trolley round the wards with magazines and snacks on it and will do the same in 2016 while Phil takes care of the shop.
Phil said: “We think the shop should be open to cater for staff, patients and visitors on Christmas Day. We want to serve our community.
“I’m not a Midlander but Walsall people are so generous and giving that you want to help and support them. And there is a special atmosphere at Christmas time!”
Trisha Stych has worked as a midwife for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust since October 2015.
Whilst she was rostered to work this Christmas, she was happy to give up the holiday as she will be celebrating the occasion with her own family on Boxing Day.
“I’m not really missing out on anything – just celebrating it a day later!” says Trisha.
Having worked Christmas Day last year, the 23-year-old is quite excited for her festive shift running 1.30pm until 9.30pm.
“There is always a nice atmosphere with both staff and patients on Christmas Day, so it always feels that little bit more fun!
“It’s a privilege to deliver babies all year round however there is something about delivering a Christmas baby which is extra special. It’s great to be a part of bringing a little miracle into the world on a regular day but there is something about handing a baby over to its parents on 25th December that makes you feel as though you are a part of giving them the best gift in the world! For both myself and the parents, there really is no feeling like it. It’s priceless!”
Trust Chief Executive Richard Kirby said: “We’re obviously a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year organisation which means someone always has to be here for our patients. I’d like to personally thank all of our staff who are working over the holiday period as well as acknowledge the effort and commitment that is shown all year round in often challenging circumstances.
“I’d like to wish all of our staff – and patients a happy and healthy new year.”