Filmed between October and December 2018, as the impact of the collapse of the multinational construction company Carillion is felt across the NHS and other public services, Hospital is the story of the health service in unprecedented times.
“Hospital returns to explore the most important issues of the frontline of the NHS this winter. We are tremendously proud of this unique series on BBC Two, it combines brilliant documentary making with a commitment to get the stories of patients and clinicians on air as soon as possible after filming. No other series is capable of telling the drama of the human stories whilst also illuminating the complexity of the issues at play. Hospital is an essential part of the BBC Two schedule, telling stories from the frontline of the NHS this winter with the very best documentary craft.” – Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two
Now in its fourth series, the award winning Hospital, for the first time, charts the day to day life of six NHS Trusts across an entire city – Liverpool – whose hospitals have a catchment area covering more than two and half million people, stretching beyond the city to North Wales, Cheshireand to the Isle of Man. Edited and broadcast within weeks of filming, this six-part series for BBC Two will once again capture the day-to-day realities facing the NHS right now. Hospital will bring audiences close to the issues and challenges that continually dominate the headlines.
It’s peak time in one of the biggest Emergency Departments in the country, at the 40 years old Royal Liverpool University Hospital in the heart of the city. The hospital is already near capacity and almost allbeds are full. A call goes out: two floors of the hospital are flooded taking newly repaired lifts out of service, critically ill patients are being re-routed around the hospital to get to Intensive Care and domestic staff are diverted from cleaning wardsand empty bed cubicles to mop up the flood.
The Emergency Department tries to divert ambulances with new incoming patients to other hospitals. Patients are already waiting two hours in ambulances outside The Royal because there are no clean beds inside. Anold leaking fire hose is discovered to be the source. As the Royal is still tackling the backlog the following day, a fuse blows in the main plant room disabling the suction pumps in the operating theatres and Intensive Care. Surgeons mobilise to ensure patientsare kept safe. Operations are delayed including 85-year-old Raymond’s who needs an urgent triple aortic bypass while world leading vascular surgeons stand by, frustrated by the disintegrating infrastructure.
The old Royal had been due for demolition. Almost five years ago work had begun on a new £350 million, six hundred and forty six bed hospital just next door. Already a year behind schedule it had been due to open in March 2017 and would have been the largest all-single room hospital in the UK. But the collapse of the multi-national construction company, Carillion, in January 2018 brought building work to a complete standstill leaving staff and patients stranded in an outdated, dilapidated building.
The new hospital was eighty to ninety per cent complete and state of the art equipment installed. Hospital has exclusive access to behind the scenes of the Royal Liverpool Hospital as the story of the collapse of Carillion unfolds and the Trust Chief Executive grapples with the expense of keeping the crumbling hospital functioning, maintaining staff and patient morale while he negotiates with the government, financiers and hospital suppliers to get the abandoned hospital finished.
Across the city, in the new state of the art Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, three years old Charlie has a rare and fast growing brain tumour. His parents have been told he only has months to live. Palliative care had been Charlie’s only option until the Alder Hey stepped in. He is about to undergo a second high risk operation under one of Europe’s top paediatric neurosurgeons. It could potentially save his life. The little boy is losing coordination as the tumour presses on his brain stem. If the surgeon can remove every trace of Charlie’s tumour, his chances of survival are good and he will qualify for NHS funding for 8 weeks of proton beam therapy not available in the UK. The treatment in Germany will cost £130,000.For the surgeon who has done close to a thousand brain tumour operations he says this is in the top 1% of difficulty.
Shown from multiple perspectives, audiences witness the complexities of the dilemmas and decision-making, which happen every day for consultants, surgeons and managers and the impact these decisions have on patients. Against the backdrop of historic demands stemming from limited resources, increasing patient numbers and social care at full stretch, the series will show the extraordinary work of some of Liverpool’s 20,000NHS hospital staff as they push the boundaries of what is possible with world class, cutting edge treatments and life-saving operations.
Hospital returns to BBC Two on January 10th 2019.
“I am looking forward to the incredible work of our staff being showcased on the BBC 2 Hospital series. It has been a challenging year for us, but we are ending the year on a real high note, with work back underway on our new Royal Liverpool University Hospital. I am so proud of how we care for our patients and I hope that this series will allow for an insightful look into the complexity and challenges of providing healthcare in our city.” – Aidan Kehoe, Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust