With this excitement seems to come a time of increased activity - school plays, parties, church congregations swell, flu clinics are running, A+E becomes busier and requests to Santa (or the GP) hit an all time high.
This year Santa’s contract has changed. No longer will he have to ask all children if they have been behaving themselves, or taking their medication, but he will have to ensure that all presents are delivered on time, by a named elf, who could be visiting from any part of the world. There are no boundaries too large to cross.
In preparation for this, Santa will be available to receive requests for gifts not just in the six weeks leading up to Christmas, but all year round as well. If your request is not acted on in a timely manner, rest assured the reindeers will be monitoring this and will report it to someone - the Eskimo Regulatory Body until April next year, but this may well be absorbed by the new chief inspector of Christmas who will be reporting to the CQC.
If you need an emergency delivery of gifts, please avoid attending the warehouse directly as queues at this time of year can be very large. It is best to contact your local delivery depot, or even ask a friendly neighbour to do this on your behalf.
If you call 111, it may be able to help, and in fact will very likely send out the flying Santa squad, resulting in a long and ultimately unproductive visit to the warehouse.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, life goes on as normal. Kids receive gifts, patients are seen and practices continue to function. The Lord (Hunt) giveth, and the Lord taketh away. What he can’t take away is the soul of general practice. That remains and is as strong as ever.
* Dr Cook is a GP in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.