Maternity Staff Working on Christmas Day
Vivienne Redmond, Midwife/Delivery Suite Shift Leader
“On Christmas Day I’ll get my children up early so I can spend some time with them before I leave for work at 7am. I’ve got three children; one is primary school age, one high school, and one goes to college.
“It’s actually really nice working Christmas Day at the hospital. There is always a good atmosphere. The team do Secret Santa. The women who come in in labour are pretty happy too, because they are getting the best Christmas present you could wish for. For parents whose babies are in the unit because they need some extra support before they can go home, we try to make the day as special as possible.
“I’m a Shift Leader, so I work with the other Shift Leaders to allocate and manage the staffing to ensure the safety of the women on the unit. It’s hard to predict if it will be busy and if there will be a lot of women coming in in labour. Some Christmases we have been run off our feet, and others have been OK.
“My shift finishes at 1.30pm, and my brother is cooking Christmas dinner, so I will be going there with my family once I’ve finished work.”
Gill El Badry, Midwife/Delivery Suite Shift Leader
“I’m a Muslim, so I work a long shift every Christmas Day to let my colleagues spend time with their families. I’ve done countless Christmas Days! My shift starts at 7.30am and finishes at 8pm. There are a couple of others who usually do the same. I’m also down to do a long shift on Boxing Day.
“I really like the atmosphere on Christmas Day, everyone is happy and there are lots of goodies to enjoy. Our lovely consultants always get us a big box of chocolates, biscuits and savouries.
“The Salvation Army brass band usually comes to the Labour and Maternity Wards to play Christmas Carols, which the women on the wards love. It’s so loud! The music travels down the corridors. The Salvation Army give a gift to each baby that’s born on Christmas Day, which is a really nice touch.
“The staff here are usually in a happy mood, and when the staff handover at lunchtime, it’s so nice to hear the stories about how excited their children have been about their visit from Father Christmas.”
Emily Littler, Midwife
“I will be spending Christmas morning with my husband and the rest of my family at my brother’s house. I have a 16 year old sister, Imogen, and I’ve never missed a Christmas morning with her. She loves Christmas so much, it’s a treat to be with her. I start work at 1.30pm so I will miss Christmas dinner, as that happens about 3pm. It’s a shame, but I focus on how rewarding it is being in the hospital, helping families and their new-borns on Christmas Day.
“I’m an Inpatient Midwife, so I work on the Maternity Ward, Maternity Triage and Induction Suite. The Maternity Triage Phone Line is there for pregnant women who are worried about their unborn baby or themselves, and as with every other day, on Christmas Day it’s a 24 hour service. It’s important for anyone who’s pregnant and is worried about their baby’s movements, or anything else, that we are here and ready to help.
“Like any other part of the NHS, the demand for the service is very unpredictable. It’s lovely on Christmas Day if team members try to get a break at the same time, but it’s not always possible as the women and their families have to come first.
“The challenge for all our staff is that it’s not just about working on Christmas Day. It’s not easy working full-time for the whole of the festive and New Year period. We get through it because we all pull together as a team. The time that we do get with our families we really value, and we don’t take it for granted.”
Emma Rohlmann, Consultant Midwife
“The Maternity Management Team are very grateful for the hard work and dedication of every member of our team across the whole of our hospital and community services. This is clearly demonstrated over the festive period, with each team member sacrificing time with their own friends and families to ensure that others are kept safe and provided with a high standard of care, no matter what time or day of the year it is. They are a fantastic team and we feel very proud of what they achieve 365 days of the year.”