Staff will be allowed to wear Christmas jumpers in hospitals round Greater Manchester this year - as long as the much-loved festive garments are freshly laundered between each wear and the sleeves are rolled up.

And trees and nativity scenes will also be allowed but only in atriums, not on wards.

For hospital sites without an atrium, doctors and nurses will have to make do with a laminated stand-up copy of a tree.

Christmas will be different in hospitals this year

We all know Christmas will be different this year.

But bosses at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust want to help staff and patients who are battling the coronavirus pandemic feel at least some festive spirit.

The trust, which runs a string of hospitals including Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital and North Manchester General, is considering a string of recommendations to help brighten the mood a little as the nation battles a second wave of the disease.

"Seasonal decorations and celebrations are traditionally part of the ways in which people celebrate Christmas in hospitals and in the workplace," says a paper which makes a string of recommendations to the trust's strategic group of senior bosses.

Its stated aim is to 'balance the requirement to mark the occasion of Christmas with the need for strict adherence to IPC (infection, prevention and control) standards'.

It recommends Christmas trees be placed in atriums although they must be marked off so they cannot be easily accessed. They must be inspected by facilities teams to make sure they are not deteriorating or dirty, according to the paper which has been seen by the M.E.N.

Trees should also be allowed in external grounds, it says, but they cannot be placed in corridors, foyers, cafes, reception areas (other than atriums), offices or wards.

For sites where there is no atrium, bosses are working on providing 'fully-laminated stand-up Christmas trees'.

Nativity scenes or cribs are allowed in atriums but, like trees, they must be marked off so they cannot be easily accessed.

Christmas lights will be allowed on trees and on external displays.

Laser lights will also be allowed in 'non-clinical areas and also in Covid positive' areas but they must be capable of being wiped down regularly. They will be removed and cleaned during an outbreak, says the paper.

Rope lights are banned, however, from all clinical and non-clinical areas.

It looks like festive jumpers will be allowed - but the arms will have to be rolled up to allow for thorough washing.

The paper says: "Chrismas jumpers will be permitted provided they are clean and freshly laundered between each wear and the member of staff is bare below the elbow.

"Hairbands and accessories are permitted but must be disposed of at the end of each day/shift or can be cleaned or wiped down."

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Ceiling decorations are allowed in atriums and other spaces designated as 'not high risk'. However, they too must be 'disposed of in the event of an outbreak'.

Wall decorations should be banned although bosses are working on 'fully laminated' posters for notice boards featuring some festive artwork.

Christmas raffles have been allowed but they must be done 'virtually'.

Charitable gifts to patients are permitted but any gift 'must be quarantined for 72 hours in a clean, dry space'.

Single item gifts will not be permitted on children's wards but bulk items, for instance of pyjamas, should allowed, according to the paper.

It will be Christmas in our hospitals, just unlike any other Christmas.