Dr Zara Aziz: Christmas - the season of mince pies and full hospitals

I love the week before Christmas and not for the most obvious reasons.

In fact it has been a busy week with multiple nativity plays (some of which I did manage to attend), gift wrapping/hiding from little munchkins, writing cards and in general trying to keep the spirit of Christmas alive despite the twins (and their Dad) doing their best to tell Baby that Mummy is telling fibs about Santa.

No, what makes the week special is the spirit and the camaraderie that pervades ... colleagues smile inanely as they walk with a spring in their steps, patients become scarce, prescriptions requests die out and children start to display impeccable behaviour in anticipation of their Christmas (non)delights.

With my jingling Christmas jumper donned I make my way outside into the blinding sunshine which seems bizarre but nevertheless welcome for late December. I hop the short distance to my house call.

Dennis is propped up in bed with a newspaper and some some seasonal treats. He offers me a mince pie. I decline politely - I've had enough mince pies this side of Christmas (and my Christmas jumper is stretched to the limit).

I get down to business.

'Dennis I am here for your post-discharge review. How was your hospital stay?'

'Terrible. I was fed on rations and enemas.' He shakes his head in disgust.

'Ermm OK... In that case you’ll be pleased to know that the hospital doesn't think future admissions would be in your best interest. Although it would depend on the situation at the time of course!'

'You mean to say Doctor that they have no beds.'

That too.

We look at each other silently.

The Christmas tree lights start to flicker unable to take the suspense any longer.

I break eye contact first.

The mince pies look tempting again.

'Well can you write a very strong letter to them Doctor and say I wouldn't go to hospital again for all the mince pies in the world?'

'Of course. Me neither.'

  • Dr Aziz is a GP in Bristol

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