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Thursday 29 September 2016
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The stress of the silly season in a short-staffed surgery

So, we're well into the silly season now! I'm sure you are all in the same boat as we are: no doctors as they are using up their leave; no staff as they are all falling ill; patients all demanding an appointment now as they have to have their three-month-old problem solved by Christmas – and everyone expecting we show goodwill to all!

As usual all the organising falls to the manager – well, it's our job, isn't it? I had a few days off myself (using up leave before the end of the year!) and left instructions for the Christmas decorations to be fetched down from storage and put up before I was back.

Of course, when I came back they weren't up – because everyone had been too busy and they are so short-staffed (I swear no one is any sicker than I am, but I'm still here!).

I therefore decided that our monthly training session, when we close at lunchtime, would be devoted to decorating the surgery. Everyone was spilt into teams and assigned an area.

Amazingly, team spirit prevailed, and within no time we had a cheerfully decorated surgery, including the library and common room and the offices. I think I must pencil this in again for next year – it was actually a good team-building exercise!

The staff party is now looming, but after the decorating I am hoping for a good evening. Almost everyone is coming this year, which is a great result.

We are planning to fit in 10-pin bowling around Christmas dinner – so now I just have to sort out the teams and who I think can be teamed with whom! Does anyone else feel they do nothing but sort out Christmas in various guises throughout December? Normal work doesn't seem to get a look in!

However, one task I don't have to do is sort out staff Christmas presents. The partners have always taken this in turn and continue to do so, so we eagerly wait to see what novel ideas turn up this year!

By the time of my next blog, the silly season will be nearly over, so can I wish all readers a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.