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Official guidance: the yuletide transition


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Friday, 23 December 2011

Official guidance: the yuletide transition

The Department of Goodwill has published guidance for NHS staff to ensure that joy and peace on earth, far from being unconfined, are used responsibly in the period from Christmas to the New Year sometimes known as “the transition”.

In a letter from Saint Nicholson himself, staff are urged to study all 572 pages of the guidance before implementing the holiday season. 

The key points are summarised here for those who may have lost the will to live before the end of the preface.

1. Presents to GPs. By all means reward your doctor for his or her hard work with a modest gift. Anything up to £80 billion is generally considered appropriate. Remember to include a card with a suitable greeting such as “Be careful what you wish for” or “Ho, ho, ho! Who’s laughing now?”

2..Terms to avoid. “New Year” is not strictly accurate and is disrespectful to older years. The correct way to refer to 1 January is “the beginning of the year as amended”. Further revisions to the year may appear in due course, as directed by the secretary of state for these things.

“Patient” – while not officially proscribed, this term is falling out of favour. Try “service user”, “customer”, “client” or “health guest”. Advise any that complain of feeling unwell not to consume NHS resources until after the transition and to put the Quality Street safely out of reach. 

3. Crackers. Last year there were 952 injuries and one death linked to the use of these devices. For advice on safe pulling techniques,  protective clothing, avoidance of cheap plastic toy hazards and recommended minimum ages for users, see the Health and Safety Executive booklet: You Must Be Joking: Why Your Next Cracker May Be Your Last.

4.  Dressing up as Father Christmas. This is wholly inappropriate and to be avoided at all costs. Seen as encouraging obesity, reinforcing cultural and gender stereotypes, demeaning single mothers and promoting animal cruelty by implicitly endorsing exploitation of reindeer. Younger readers are reminded that the evidence base for Santa’a existence is at best questionable.

5. Seasonal publications. In the year as amended, the Information Centre will publish its usual humorous statistical round-up of seasonal fatalities including numbers choked by brazil nuts, heart attacks during Wii Fit sessions and falls from chairs while trying to retrieve Quality Street from high shelves.

6. Eating, drinking and making merry. These activities are generally to be discouraged. Staff who feel the urge to eat and drink may do so in their own time, subject to the usual affordability considerations. The government has already put in place measures to limit merrymaking.

On behalf of the staff of NHS Networks and the sick and needy who make it all possible, it only remains to wish you an overarching Christmas and an outcomes-based New Year.


scawkwell says:
Dec 23, 2011 08:33 AM
Cautious and preventative good wishes back to you - and a hearty thanks for the many chuckles you have provided over the last few months.

Please enjoy these good wishes within 62 days, or you will be in breach of Good Wish Tracking Times.
clair.shipley@derbyshirecountypct.nhs.uk says:
Dec 23, 2011 08:54 AM
Thank you for that it was brilliant, and gave me a chuckle
johnmanning says:
Dec 23, 2011 09:06 AM
Quality Street? Please note that other suger/fat-based confections are available.
vivienne.martindale@champs.nhs.uk says:
Dec 23, 2011 09:30 AM
Being a newbe to NHS Networks this had made us all have a good chuckle this morning!!
Dare I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year?
s.cribb@nhs.net says:
Dec 23, 2011 09:33 AM
the blogmeister never fails...thank you. An overarching Christmas and outcomes based "year as amended" to you too.

and dont forget... only 52 more blogs to Christmas 2012!
sgoldsbrough says:
Dec 23, 2011 10:05 AM
Being a recent patient...ooops sorry! "service "user" - this is brilliant!! Looking forward to more in the year as amended!
Happy Holidays to all..if you dare!!
Heather says:
Dec 23, 2011 10:19 AM
thank you for this and all the insightful contributions through the year.

Happy days:)
nhswhatnhs says:
Dec 23, 2011 10:35 AM
It just makes Fridays worthwhile and adds a shine to the whole week. I have really enjoyed sharing these blogs with friends family and colleagues who are all now complaining to the ombudsman about injuries caused through excess laughter.
Roll on 2012 for more insightful contributions about the near hysterical hotch potch of systems, processes and ideas which form our glorious NHS.
jpatterson says:
Dec 23, 2011 02:53 PM
I appreciate all your feedback and encouragement. Happy Christmas!
(NHS Networks blogger)
cmhill says:
Jan 01, 2012 10:10 PM
Just got round to reading this...great fun, thank you! I really enjoy your humour and always look forward to reading your blogs, without fail they make me smile :)

Happy new year, and keep up the good work in 2012.
ian.walker@sandwell-pct.nhs.uk says:
Jan 03, 2012 12:02 PM
These blogs just get better. Again really enjoyed this. Made me chuckle at my desk and cry inside!!

Glad we have a name (Julian) to these expert pieces. Keep up the good work....