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President’s Bulletin: On hearing the first Noddy of Christmas

Updated on: 21 Dec 2021   First published on 21 Dec 2021

Author:  Dr Alastair McKinlay 

On hearing the first Noddy of Christmas


It was probably mid-November. I was on a rare shopping trip in town when the sound of the congenial Mr Holder came ringing through the mall. Slade’s, “Merry Christmas Everybody” always provides a bit of comfort. I remember it the first-time round. It was not cool to admit to liking anything by Slade. They were, after all, a band for girls, and not the heavy prog rock sound favoured by “real” men. And now, after fifty years, Slade has outlasted virtually everyone.

There is something reassuringly straightforward about “Merry Christmas Everybody”. It doesn’t feature anything pretentious, unlike the Beach Boys’ “Little Saint Nick”, which contains the immortal line, “Christmas comes this time each year”. If it didn’t, would it be Christmas?

In mid-November, hearing the first Noddy of the season, seemed reassuringly optimistic. Triple vaccinated and with cases on the way down it seemed, briefly, that we were almost there and that COVID would be on the way out by the Spring. Never underestimate the power of natural selection. Omicron has reminded us all of that. Even its name seems to be straight out of a Marvel movie. It is difficult, when faced with a potential tsunami of cases to think about anything, other than surviving the next few months, let alone doing anything extra, like standing for one of the many Officer positions coming up in the BSG in the New Year.

But you must at least think about it.

Whether Omicron is a short-lived blip, or a longer story, the work of our profession, our speciality, and the Society has to go on. As we enter the New Year, the BSG has never been so essential. Last year we provided vital advice on pausing services until the supplies of PPE stabilised. We advised on shielding, on care for our patients with liver disease, IBD and intestinal failure. We have the wellbeing of our trainees, our nursing colleagues, and ourselves to safeguard.

At a time of national emergency, when everyone is feeling tired and burnt out, it might seem madness to take on an external role. On the contrary, extended roles like the regional reps, leading a committee, or standing for a CRG or section, do not hasten burnout, they actually protect against it.

COVID will end.  It is quite possible that next year will see us back in equilibrium. How we recover will depend on institutions, like the BSG, being there, and being fit for purpose, so we need you to take the plunge.

It’s a bit like wild swimming. Taking the plunge always requires courage. Once in, the waters of the BSG are warm and the benefits for our patients, trainees and colleagues of an active Society, are immense. It’s also good for personal wellbeing and purpose. So, please don’t be blinkered by Omicron. Step forward and take a role in the BSG.

So, in the words of the inimitable Mr Holder, “It’s Christmas”.

A Merry Christmas to all our members and their families from everyone in the BSG Executive and Office.

2022 is going to be better.


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