The obligatory Christmas tie-in to Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt, Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas covers the many Christmases that Kay worked for the NHS, with all the humour and heartache that one would expect. It’s an extremely quick read too – you could finish it in the time it took you to eat a Christmas dinner – which would fit perfectly into a stocking (remember this for, erm, nine months time I guess).
Being an obstetrics/maternity specialist, babies who refuse to wait till after Christmas feature highly, as do some rather more heartbreaking circumstances, but thankfully there’s also enough drunken idiots and people inserting unusual objects into themselves to laugh at to keep some of the despair at bay.
Paying tribute to the staff who regularly give up the time that others take for granted to care for people over Christmas, Kay also shows how hard it can be on said person’s family life. Relationships either break or your family become resigned to never seeing you as you spend yet another Christmas at work – something that will be familiar to everyone who’s ever had their stomach sink on seeing the rota (my partner gets 2 weeks off at Christmas and gets angry and disappointed every year that I have to work).
Considering that we all do this on pretty crappy pay overall, one would be forgiven for wondering why someone would sign up for all this. But Kay also makes clear why that is – and illustrates perfectly why Britain is so attached to the NHS, even with all its faults.