WHILE Christmas is a time for festivities, family and friends, for hundreds of NHS staff across St Helens and Knowsley's hospitals, it is just another working day - ensuring that patients receive all the care they need while also helping them appreciate the special day.

An estimated 97,000 nurses and 53,000 nursing assistants will be working in hospitals across the country on Christmas Day, whilst 12,000 midwives are expected to welcome around 1,400 Christmas babies into the UK.

Around 12,000 ambulance staff will also be on duty on Christmas day, as well as around 176,000 care workers and home carers will be giving up their Christmas day, whilst an army of caterers will produce around 400,000 Christmas dinners to enable patients in hospital to tuck into a festive feast.

Making a big difference to the patients and colleagues who will be in hospital on Christmas, here is a round up of NHS staff in St Helens who are working the festive day:

Liz Edwards, Catering Supervisor

St Helens Star: Liz EdwardsLiz Edwards

During her 17 years at Whiston Hospital Catering Supervisor, Liz Edwards has worked on 15 Christmas days, and is responsible for delivering 700 special (and free!) Christmas breakfasts to all the staff.

Liz said: "It just wouldn’t be Christmas without our free staff breakfasts, everyone appreciates it so much.

"They always wish us a Merry Christmas and treat us with chocolates and sweets too. I start at 6am and don’t stop until midday when I go home with a big smile on my face knowing that I’ve spread a little bit of joy - and a lot of butter on toast!

"People think I’m mad, but I really do love working on Christmas Day.”

Sandra Miranda, Domestic Assistant

St Helens Star: Sandra MirandaSandra Miranda

Sandra Miranda has worked at the Trust for 17 years as a Domestic Assistant at Whiston Hospital, and after working in a number of different wards, she will spend Christmas Day working on the Intensive Care Unit.

Sandra said: “I will always remember Christmas Day on the Department of Medicine for Older People [where] each patient receives a gift from the staff, and has their Christmas lunch together.

"Many patients do not have relatives to visit so we become their family on Christmas Day and always made it as special as it can be.

"I’m currently working on ICU and it has been a difficult few years [and] very emotional, so it will be hard at Christmas but we will absolutely make the best of it.

Explaining that staff do "everything they can" to boost morale, Sandra added: I’ll go to my daughter’s for dinner after my shift [and] I’ve just found out I’m going to be a grandma, so it is a very special time.”

Jade Holman, Sister Paediatrics ED

St Helens Star: Jade HolmanJade Holman

Jade Holman often works a busy shift on Christmas night, but this year she’ll be caring for children on Christmas day.

She said: “It’s so upsetting for the children and families who have to come to A&E on Christmas Day, but we do everything we can to make them smile.

"All the staff make a big effort to make the day feel special for each other too. This year we’ve organised a secret Santa and we’ll have a selection box or two for lunch.”

Lee Kenny, Porter

St Helens Star: Lee KennyLee Kenny

Lee Kenny, has worked as a porter on Christmas Day for the past 6 years.

Lee said: "Everyone thinks I do it for the free breakfast! But actually I do it because like to make a difference to the patients.

"It is very sad being in hospital over Christmas, so it is good to be able to crack a joke and make patients smile – it makes me feel good too.”

Jenny Shields, Midwife

St Helens Star: Jenny ShieldsJenny Shields

Midwife Jenny Shields will be working hard delivering Christmas babies for families this year.

Jenny said: "Christmas Day on the unit is such a special time, there’s a lovely atmosphere, but most of all it’s wonderful to see the mums and dads with their new arrival.

"The birth of a baby is the best gift in the world, especially at Christmas.”