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Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we do the CSA

It’s that time of year again when we (yes, including doctors!) allow ourselves to eat to excess, drink to excess and maybe sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ loudly and badly on New Year’s Eve.

It is a time for families to come together and enjoy each other’s company and a time for giving and receiving presents.

But, of course, for some people, it can be a miserable and lonely time. For our colleagues working in A&E, the Christmas and New Year period can be a potentially hellish time – as well as, sometimes, amusing…

Next year holds many new possibilities for me, but the joy of the New Year celebrations will be quickly darkened by the looming juggernaut that is the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) exam.

In the four-hour exam, you must speak to thirteen pseudo-patients (actors) for 10 minutes each, trying to find out what is wrong with them, what their ‘Ideas, Concerns and Expectations’ are, and not get flustered when you have no clue what is going on but maintain your cool, smile and be friendly.

This can be hard when you remember that this exam is the cost of a nice holiday abroad – a ‘bargain’ £1,694.

My thoughts are a bit blinkered because of the CSA, but starting from today I start my Christmas holiday and I plan to eat some mince pies, have a glass or two of mulled wine and try not to mumble all of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ on New Year’s Eve.

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dr Avradeep Chakrabarti is a GPST3 from Swindon