The barbecue was firing and the sun shining at the Armidale Hospital’s Christmas luncheon on Thursday.
And it was all about getting into the Christmas spirit.
With only 17 sleeps to go, dozens of hospital staff descended into the garden to enjoy a sausage sizzle and fresh salad for lunch.
General Manager Wendy Mulligan said it had been a very busy, and very successful year for the Armidale Hospital team.
“The highlight for us is nearly completing the redevelopment,” Mrs Mulligan told The Express on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s been a really hard year with that, because as well as running a very busy hospital we’re building a new hospital.
“But that’s excitement in itself.”
Mrs Mulligan said the luncheon was all about thanking the staff for their hard work and dedication throughout 2017.
“This is about thanking staff for everything they’ve done throughout the year,” she said.
“They go above and beyond all the time.”
She said everyone was looking forward to moving into the new building in 2018.
They go above and beyond all the time.Wendy Mulligan
“That’s going to be very exciting,” she said.
Mrs Mulligan said this year, overall activity has increased.
“We’ve probably done lots more surgical work because lots of emergencies have come in,” she said.
“Our activity has increased so we’ve done more total activity this year than we did last year.”
Many staff are also looking forward to a quick break for Christmas.
“We have a close down for non-frontline staff from the end of December to the start of January,” she said.
“We try and get as many people on holidays so that they can be with their families.”
And it wasn’t just the barbecue igniting Christmas cheer this week. Staff are also competing for the best decorated ward.
“We will judge that next week and there’s prizes for the best ward,” she said.
“It just gets everyone in the spirit of Christmas and a lot of the staff will wear Christmas t-shirts for the patients as well.
“It’s a pretty hard time to be in hospital over Christmas, so it lifts everyone’s spirits.”
A beautiful, big blue spruce tree will also be lit up in the grounds at the hospital to spread the Christmas cheer.