NHS staff spread Christmas joy to Londoners in hospital

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Catering team at St Thomas' Hospital smiling for a group photo. They are wearing Christmas hats and jumpers.

Catering team at St Thomas' Hospital.

Festive magic is being brought to patients’ bedsides this Christmas time with thousands of free gifts and meals at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

On Christmas Day over 2,000 beautifully wrapped presents will be delivered to inpatients at Guy’s, St Thomas’, Royal Brompton, Harefield, and Evelina London Children’s hospitals. To help spread the Christmas cheer even further, all patients receiving a community visit will also be given a gift.

Every patient will also enjoy a choice of festive themed feasts. NHS staff working tirelessly on Christmas Day will receive free meals, and staff working in the community will receive a free buffet box.

This has all been made possible thanks to support from Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, Evelina London Children’s Charity, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity and the Brompton Fountain.

Across the Christmas period, including Christmas Day, the catering teams will have prepared over 3,500 festive meals for NHS teams and patients to tuck into. This includes over 2,000 servings of roast turkey and stuffing, 600 servings of vegan chestnut Christmas pie and over 2,000 portions of Christmas pudding. This amounted to:

  • 608 kg of turkey (equivalent to the weight of 40 Christmas trees)
  • 400 kg roast potatoes (equivalent to the weight of an adult donkey) 
  • 800 litres of gravy (equivalent to the volume of over 1,500 snowballs)

Planning for this traditional feast and all the trimmings begins in August so that everything can be ready in time. Chef Ned (Nedko Rusev), has been trialling his Christmas starters since November, and Chef Luisa Baptista, who has worked at the Trust for an amazing 53 years, has been perfecting her delicious stuffing recipe year after year. 60 generous volunteers also supported the retail catering team in serving festive lunches to staff across 3 days.

Annette White, retail catering manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said:

In the spirit of Christmas, it is a time when we come together to appreciate and celebrate the hard work of our exceptional teams. By organising a festive lunch, we aim to create a joyful atmosphere where our colleagues can enjoy delicious food, share laughter and momentarily step away from their daily responsibilities and also enjoying our beautiful table settings and decorations.


Christmas is one of our busiest times of the year, and we spend months planning it so that everyone can have the best experience possible – this is especially important for our patients and staff who aren’t able to make it home over Christmas.

Christmas table decorations at St Thomas' Hospital. The tables are decorated with balloons and crackers, and their is a Christmas tree in the back middle.

Festive lunches at St Thomas' Hospital.

The hospital corridors and common spaces have been transformed into a winter wonderland. Over 15 beautifully decorated trees funded by the charities have gone up around the hospitals. The trees in Evelina London have an extra special sparkle and are adorned in decorative donuts, glittery ice lollies and playful elves.

Evelina London is going above and beyond to make Christmas a magical time for its young patients. Throughout December the Play Team are hosting a Christmas grotto for children to visit ‘virtual’ Santa, interactive concerts for all the family to enjoy, and co-ordinating present and book donations.  

Incredible moments like these are made possible by Evelina London Children’s Charity. This year the Charity launched its ‘Evelina’s Incredibles’ fundraising campaign. Donations will help to create everyday incredible moments that make a child’s stay in hospital less daunting, and to provide invaluable opportunities for children to access health and wellbeing support across the local community.


Christmas Tree at Evelina London decorated with toys.

Christmas tree at Evelina London.

Making the Christmas glee go even further, hospital teams have been challenged to decorate their departments and wards for the ‘festive cheer challenge’. There is also wellbeing support from the ‘Showing we care about you’ programme available for staff throughout December, including festive walks. The programme is one of the most comprehensive health and wellbeing programmes in the NHS and is supported by Guy's & St Thomas' Charity.

Last updated: December 2023

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