Karl Pillar, junior charge nurseWhile most people will be tucking into a turkey lunch on Christmas Day, many members of staff at the Royal Free London will be hard at work, caring for patients and keeping our hospitals running.

Karl Piller, a junior charge nurse on the children’s ward at the Royal Free Hospital, will be trying to his best to make patients have a very merry time on Christmas morning.

He will be working from 8.30pm on Christmas Eve, until 8.30am on Christmas Day.

“We will be giving presents to all the children in the morning,” said Karl “We’ve got loads of presents that have been donated by various people and we’ve been wrapping them all up for the past few days.

“We’ve been doing our best to get patients home for Christmas, if appropriate, but for those who are here, we will be trying to make it as nice as we can for them. It will be a fun day.”

Karl said the team takes in turns to work over the Christmas period. “When we become nurses we all know we will sometimes have to work over Christmas – it’s part of the job. And we need to be there for our patients who can’t be at home.”

Chris Ellis, an emergency department assistant at the urgent care centre at Chase Farm Hospital, is at work from 10am-10pm on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“It’s a bit quieter over Christmas,” said Chris. “However, you still have some people coming in for routine things. We get some Christmas-related injuries, like kids who’ve crashed their new bike or their skateboard. We also get people with cooking injuries, which they’ve picked up when making Christmas lunch.”

Chris, who has worked at the urgent care centre for 14 years, said he would be spending Christmas morning with his family before starting his 12 hour shift. “It’s part of working in an urgent care centre, so I don’t really mind coming in to work,” he added.

Mandy Simpson, a junior sister on Larch ward at Barnet Hospital, said: “It will be busy on Christmas Day – we try to make it a jolly atmosphere.  Nobody wants to be in hospital over Christmas but it’s a lovely environment in Larch Ward, as it’s just been completely refurbished to make it dementia-friendly.”


Image: Karl Pillar, junior charge nurse

Notes to editors

Media contacts: mary.mcconnell2@nhs.net or call 020 7472 6665

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.