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Thank you to all our staff working on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, thousands of our staff will continue to work, spending the festive season with their colleagues looking after patients and those in need of urgent care. 

Here’s just some of those members of staff from various hospitals across North Wales who’ll be caring for others and supporting the NHS on Christmas Day. 

Paul Owens, a Porter at Chirk Community Hospital, is working his usual shift of 7am-3pm on Christmas Day but he will also be surprising the patients with a special visit from Santa. 

Paul, who has worked at Chirk Community Hospital for over five years, will be donning a red suit on the day giving out gifts, which he’s done several times over the last few years for the hospital. 

He said: “Christmas is such a special day in the hospital, it totally feels different, everyone mucks in and gets on with their jobs whilst wearing Christmas hats and in festive spirit, it’s a good atmosphere. 

“The patients always enjoy seeing Santa and we give out presents and chat with all our patients.” 

“On Christmas morning I’ll be doing my normal routine of getting up at 4.30am to get to work for 6.30am, and I’ll get on with my duties as I always do.  

“The hospital does put on a special lunch, but I’ll wait until I get home and have Christmas dinner with my wife, and we’ll open presents together if Santa has been to my house.” 

In the run up to Christmas Chirk Community Hospital has held various special events for patients and staff including carol singing, a nutcracker ballerina performance and they’ve created a Santa’s Grotto. 

Susan Griffiths has been a Community Staff Nurse in Tywyn for over six years. She loves looking after patients in their own homes and meeting their families.  

Community Nurses often look after people for extended periods, they get to know them and their families and build rapport, enabling them to provide effective holistic nursing care. 

She said: “I enjoyed working Christmas day in the past in hospitals as everyone made a special effort to be happy and enjoy themselves. 

“Working Christmas day this year I am proud to be able to support patients providing nursing care in their home surrounded by their families. 

“It is often a difficult time for many of our patients due to their medical conditions. 

“If I can help to alleviate patients concerns, by supporting them with their nursing needs to remain at home this will be very rewarding. 

“I am sure everyone will be glad to see me on Christmas day and grateful for the care and support we are able to provide as a service.” 

Brother and sister Rebecca and Richard Griffiths both work as Domestic Assistants at Ysbyty Gwynedd.  

Richard joined Aran Ward at the beginning of the year after working on wards dedicated to caring for COVID patients during the pandemic.  

He said: “I really enjoy my job, I have a great group of colleagues on Aran and outside of my normal duties I like to help where I can by chatting to the patients. 

“I have worked quite a few Christmas Days as I previously worked within the Catering team at Ysbyty Eryri in Caernarfon.  

“I’m looking forward to being on shift and spending the day with my colleagues and the patients – there should be a really nice atmosphere.” 

Rebecca has worked on Ogwen Ward for just over two years and says she is looking forward to making sure the patients on her ward have a special Christmas day.  

She said: “I am passionate about making sure my ward is always clean and tidy for my patients.  

“It’s a great ward to work on and my colleagues are so lovely.  

“I always enjoy making our patients laugh – laughter is the best medicine.  

“It’s always important to keep the patients upbeat as no one wants to be in hospital so I’m going to do my best to keep everyone happy and cheery on Christmas Day!” 

Emergency Department Sister Sian Oates will be one of the busy team treating some of our most unwell patients on Christmas Day.  

Sian is working a late shift on Christmas Day and is looking forward to spending time with her family during the morning.  

She said: “I’ll spend the morning opening the presents with the kids and then I’ll head in for my shift in the afternoon.  

“I’ve worked quite a few Christmas Days over the years and it’s always nice to spend the day with your colleagues, they are my work family.  

“We hope it will be a quiet day in our department but as always we’ll be here for those who need us in an emergency.” 

Three Health Care Assistants are working on Christmas Day in Holywell Community Hospital.  

Tim Dykins is working the early shift 7.30am-2pm and it will be his first Christmas Day working for the NHS since the 90s. Tim will be waiting to have his Christmas dinner and open his presents with his wife in the afternoon, and then spend time with his children and grandchildren on Boxing Day.  

Tim said: “The patients will be having a special lunch and we’ve got festive treats for them to give out. Leading up to Christmas Day we’ve had special visits from the Good Companions who have given out presents too. 

“Last time I did a shift on Christmas Day was in the 90s, and I think maybe because of COVID-19 it will be slightly different, perhaps not as dressed up as we would have been but it will be a great atmosphere.” 

Hannah Ashmore and Lauren Smith are working the late shift at Holywell Community Hospital 1.30pm-8pm.  

Hannah said: “I’m happy to working Christmas Day, it’s not like a normal shift, everyone is quite mellow but it’s really busy with lots of visitors for the patients. It’s lovely to see the patients with their families, and everyone’s always so happy. 

“I have Christmas eve off and Boxing Day which I’ve asked for, because all my family come together on Boxing Day and spend it together.” 

Hannah will spend the morning with her husband and making Christmas dinner, though she won’t be eating it as she will be dropping it off at her sister’s house a few doors away. 

Hannah won’t be having her Christmas dinner until 8.30am, which her husband will be making ready for when she gets home.  

Lauren will spend the morning with her partner, and children Oakley 10, and Amelia who will turn 6 on New Year’s Eve. Lauren will be up early opening presents with her family  

She said: “It’s my first time Christmas Day, so I’m not sure what to expect really, but be nice to see the patients with their families, and being with them. I am looking forward to it as I don’t have grandparents so it’s nice to help look after the patients and spend the day with them.  

“For me I’m not a big lover of the dinner so I said I’ll work the late shift. We’re going to bring a few bits into work and have a bit of a buffet and have snacky bits to eat throughout the day, and then I’ll go visit my in-laws after work and maybe have a plate there.” 

Lauren Davies, a Health Care Support Worker, from Mold Community Hospital, is working her third Christmas shift and looking forward to helping make the day extra special for patients and staff. 

Lauren said: “I’m starting at 7.30am so I’ll be going straight into work and doing my usual jobs when I get in. I’ll hopefully helping make the day room Christmassy for the patients to go in and sit with each other, and we’ll be serving a nice turkey dinner for them, and they’ll have a buffet later on in the day.  

“I’m going to wait to eat my Christmas dinner with my partner after I get home, as I’ll be finishing 2pm. Our activities coordinator Diane has been great too she’s decorated around the hospital where we can, and made bauble and cracker activities for the patients.  

“I don’t mind working Christmas Day as it’s lovely to see the patients with their families, and we also try to help get some patients who can leave for a few days to go be with their families at home. It’s also nice to spend time with patients who don’t have family and who would have been on their own if they weren’t in the hospital with us.” 

Switchboard Operator Lliwen Griffith-Williams at Ysbyty Gwynedd will be helping to connect families with their loved ones this Christmas Day.  

Lliwen has worked in the Switchboard Office for almost two years and this will be the second time she has worked a shift on Christmas Day.  

She said: “Working on the switchboard is more challenging than people think, we have a very high volume of calls coming through each day. We transfer calls internally, deal with emergency calls and a large number are queries from the public and those wishing to get in touch with the wards where their loved ones are.  

“I quite enjoy working Christmas Day, it is a bit quieter and the majority of calls will be from families asking to be put through to the wards for updates on their loved ones so we do our best to make sure their calls are connected as quickly as possible.”