BMA Scotland, caring for you this Christmas and beyond

Christmas is the time of year most of us can switch off our computers, turn on our out of office replies and spend some well-earned time with our loved ones.

For many of our hard-working doctors and other NHS workers however, Christmas involves long hours on hospital wards or covering out of hours shifts. Despite the festive season, doctors across Scotland will continue to show the same level of commitment to their patients that they give all year round.

That’s why we’re sending more than 100 “BMA Care boxes” to hospitals throughout Scotland to ensure that when doctors are working their shifts over the Christmas period, they, and the rest of their team, have some essential items to keep them going.

We know that many grateful patients and their families will bring chocolates and treats to the wards as a sign of thanks to those who dedicate their time to caring for others, and we want to show our own gratitude too. That’s why we’ve included snacks, tea bags, coffee sachets, socks, and much more to ensure the basics are covered.

As someone who meets doctors daily, I continue to be impressed by their commitment to making the lives of the people who come into their care better. No matter how long the shift, no matter the circumstance, doctors give their all. Like our dedicated NHS staff, these new BMA Care Boxes will be there all year round, for every shift in the hardest pressed areas where staff sometimes find it difficult to get a way for a full break. We will regularly visit to replenish some items, but hope others contribute as well if stocks are low.

BMA Scotland offers wellbeing support services to all doctors and medical students, regardless of whether or not you’re a member, so if you feel you need them – you access them. They’re private and confidential, so you can call knowing that you can speak to us in confidence about any issues that you’re having.

With long nights and long shifts ahead this festive season, we want you to take care of yourself, and to look out for your colleagues. If you, or someone you work with, isn’t getting your breaks – say something. If you’re struggling – talk to us.

You need to eat, you need to stay hydrated, you need to be rested; because when you’re looking after yourself then you can give your all to doing what you do best – looking after others.

Senior doctors have been sharing their tips for self-care on Twitter, using the hashtag #FestiveTipsForNewDocs – but whether you’re a new doctor or a more experienced doctor, it’s worth checking out because when times get tough, you care about others and too often forget yourself.

BMA Scotland will be there for you this festive season, we’ll be there for you throughout the year, and we want to say thank you for all you do.

Gayle Mackie is a Membership Engagement Coordinator in the west of Scotland

If you’re not a member of the BMA and feel inspired to join and make our collective voice stronger, please click here. If you’re already a member and want more information on how to make the most of your membership, please click here.