Family festivities are just what the doctor ordered
AFTER quizzing GPs across the country in our MO Christmas survey, one thing is clear: there is no such thing as a typical GP Christmas.
The survey, carried out by Cegedim on behalf of MO, polled 151 GPs on the big festive season questions and showed GPs are as diverse in their holiday habits as their practices.
What we can tell you is that Australian GPs are more likely to pick a plastic tree (71%) rather than bother finding a fir or pine (15%), opt for the traditional European-style hot lunch (56%) over a barbecue or seafood (35%), and choose an afternoon siesta (29%) over a game of backyard cricket (16%).
Road trips will also be common for many, including Dr Garyck Joseph who will close his surgery in Sydney’s Manly Vale for four days from Christmas Eve and head south on an 11-hour drive with his 95-year-old father.
“It’s a long drive, but we’ll be able to relax over lunch on Christmas day,” Dr Joseph said.
“Dad wants to visit friends in Melbourne and I like to spend Christmas with him, so we’ll head to Melbourne on Christmas Eve. We’ll have a family Christmas dinner and he will want to go to mass,” Dr Joseph told MO.
Many families will similarly gather around the country, including that of retired doctor Dr Frank Johnson and his wife Eleanore, whose children and grandchildren will meet them in Queensland’s Sunshine Beach.
“When your kids are all married with families themselves, it can be difficult to organise everyone in the one place, but we will have at least two of the four families there,” Dr Johnson said.
But for many medicos, Christmas will be a juggling act as they try to balance family time with the demands of the job, like Alice Springs GP Dr Susan Wearne and her husband Dr Tim Henderson.
“We’ll get together with four or five other families and have a swim in the pool and a traditional Christmas cake, and I’ll call my parents in England and sing with the church choir on Christmas eve,” Dr Wearne said.
“But Tim is an orthopaedic surgeon and is on-call until 19 January, so we’re just hoping it’s a quiet day and we can all be together as much as possible.”
Of the 10% of respondents who will not be observing Christmas, most said they would either be spending time with family or working on-call.