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Christmas is cancelled at the Department of Health

The Department of Health and NHS England have put no money towards Christmas cards, parties, trees or decorations this year.

A parliamentary answer revealed that the CQC and Public Health England will not be spending anything on Christmas this year, while the Health and Social Care Information Centre is the only publicly funded health body where staff will see a tree, with a £200 budget set aside to spruce up the premises for the holiday season.

However, staff at Monitor have benefitted from a £4,700 party budget, while NICE and Human Tissue Authority staff also have party budgets of £1,556 and £1,155 respectively.

Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter said: ‘The Department has identified there is no planned expenditure set aside to fund Christmas cards, postage and parties in 2014.

‘For decorations and trees, as separately identified from our Facilities Management suppliers (EMCOR), there are no plans to purchase Christmas decorations or trees from them.’

As previously reported, NHS England has told GPs to work over Christmas or face contract breach notices.

Last year’s Christmas cheer saw NHS England issue notices to 12 GP practices in London after staff rang round 238 GP practices in the capital after 3.30pm on Christmas Eve to check they remained open. 

However, DH and agency staff were allowed to bunk off early on Christmas Eve last year.