CATERING staff at Furness General are getting ready for a busy Christmas with 3,100 meals being served to patients, staff and volunteers over the festive period.

As many of us in Barrow are settling down for Christmas with family and friends, spare a thought for those who will be spending Christmas on the hospital wards this year.

Over the course of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the chefs will serve 2,100 meals to patients on the wards.

It takes a lot of work to prepare this many meals. Preparation has been going on for months in order to be ready for Christmas, and the dinner itself will take three chefs and 15 kitchen staff to make the meals.

But how much food goes in to make that many Christmas dinners?

Chefs at Furness General Hospital told The Mail, over the course of Christmas they will serve 65 Turkeys to staff, patients, volunteers, community staff and Meals on Wheels customers.

But what would Turkey be without a bit of gravy? Furness General will serve 150 jugs of gravy over the festive period.

Lets not forget the brussel sprouts, overall, 140 kilograms of sprouts will be served.

That’s not all, no Christmas is complete without the customary Christmas pudding, or 60 at Furness General.

Tracy Litt, catering manager at Furness General, said: “I’m very proud of all of the hard work that my team puts in every year. Our goal is the satisfaction of our patients, staff and volunteers and my team goes above and beyond every year.”

The catering team at FGH will also be cooking and donating 50 meals for the homeless and needy attending Barrow Community Kitchen on Christmas Day.

Mrs Litt said: “We were delighted to help Barrow Community Kitchen by donating 50 home cooked Christmas dinners. No one should go without a Christmas Dinner at this time of year. It is a really worthy cause and I would encourage others to support it.”

The Mail also spoke to a number of catering staff for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Sarah Corkhill, catering supervisor, said: “I really enjoy coming in over the Christmas period to serve our patients on the wards.”

Gary Ryan, catering assistant, said: “It is hard work but I think everyone in the team will agree it is very rewarding knowing our patients are getting a hearty, home cooked Christmas meal.”

Chef Christine Redfern added: “We do serve some specialist diets over the Christmas period. These can be such diets as Gluten Free or Low Potassium. These dishes are all made individually for the patient.”

Sandra Shaw, catering supervisor, said: “It is a lovely atmosphere in the Lonsdale Grill Restaurant when we are serving staff – they are all very grateful and will thank the catering team.”

In addition to all of the meals served in the hospital across Christmas, staff will also be serving 55 to 60 Meals on Wheels Christmas meals per day.

The Meal on Wheels service allows Barrow’s elderly and most isolated people to live independently with its volunteers delivering hearty meals three times a day but also providing company and support.

The service was introduced by UHMBT and has been running since April 2014.

The service provides meals throughout the year and the Christmas period is no exception.

Clients have enjoyed festive meals in the lead up to Christmas.

All this work comes in the year the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. Those working over Christmas are an excellent example of extraordinary NHS staff who do so much to care for local communities across the country.