Main content

Episode 1

The day-to-day realities facing the NHS. Floods and an electrical fault disrupt A&E and operating theatres in the crumbling Royal.

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.

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, Cheshire and 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-year-old Royal Liverpool University Hospital in the heart of the city. The hospital is already near capacity and almost all beds 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 wards and 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. An old 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 patients are 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, 646 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 80 to 90 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-year-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 eight 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 1000 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 20,000 NHS hospital staff as they push the boundaries of what is possible with world class, cutting edge treatments and life-saving operations.

Hospital is a co-production with the Open University.

21 days left to watch

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 10 Jan 2019 21:00

More episodes

Previous

You are at the first episode

See all episodes from Hospital

Credits

Role Contributor
Executive Producer Lorraine Charker Phillips
Executive Producer Simon Dickson
Executive Producer Jackie Waldock
Series Producer Meghan Just-Truelove
Series Producer Gayl Paterson
Series Editor Sunshine Jackson
Production Company Label 1

Broadcast

Want to know more about Health, Wellbeing & Nursing? Explore with The Open University

Want to know more about Health, Wellbeing & Nursing? Explore with The Open University

Visit the interactive pages on OpenLearn, to investigate further.