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Cameras go behind the scenes at the RD&E for major Channel 5 documentary

The RD&E will take centre-stage in a feature-length documentary to be shown on Channel 5 on 31 October at 9pm.

The 90-minute programme, called ‘Secret Life of the Hospital: Revealed’, shows some of the unseen cogs in the vast complex machinery of a large modern acute teaching hospital like the RD&E and sheds light on the teamwork required to keep the hospital working safely 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It will feature many services and departments rarely seen by the public, such as the laundry and sterilisation units, laboratories, equipment repair workshops, health record stores, and the super-fast ‘pod’ system for transporting bloods and other samples around the hospital in seconds. It will also show how the hospital ‘deep cleans’, prepares ultra-sterile chemotherapy drugs, and uses recycled hip bones in life-changing spinal surgery. A segment on the mortuary sensitively captures how teams respond when a patient sadly dies in hospital.

Many of the hospital’s staff appear, including porters, cleaners, emergency teams, the woman in charge of the busy operating theatres supply room and the man who has to figure out why a £500,000 CT scanner isn’t firing up at 6.30am. It also features several patients, including two brave teenagers undergoing major treatment, a premature baby, and a woman flown in by air ambulance after her heart stopped.

The documentary, filmed and produced by Brinkworth Productions, was researched and filmed at the RD&E over a three-month period earlier this year using a range of cutting-edge HD cameras and techniques.

Adrian Harris, Medical Director at the RD&E, said: “Like many hospitals, what the public see when they come in for treatment or pay a visit to the RD&E is only half the story. There’s also an incredible hidden network of supporting staff and services working hand-in-hand with the clinical frontline to keep the hospital safe and fully functioning round-the-clock, all year round.

“It’s a real honour for me to see this amazing teamwork every day and it’s very exciting to have a programme that shows this other vital side of the NHS, particularly in the NHS’ 70th anniversary year.”  

Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor Factual, Channel 5, said: “The hospital trust were amazing in letting cameras into the secret world of one of our busiest hospitals. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the people behind the scenes in our NHS, and this film gives them their due. It's a fascinating glimpse into what goes on to keep the system running smoothly day in, day out.”


Malcolm Brinkworth, Executive Producer, said: “We all take hospitals for granted. But what really goes on behind the scenes to make these vital institutions work? Full of surprising facts, the Secret Life of the Hospital takes viewers to the beating heart of the hospital in a way they’ve never seen before. It reveals the vast network of people and processes behind the frontline medical staff that keep a busy hospital ticking 24 hours a day.”

Mark Cooke, Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England and NHS Improvement in South West South, said: “This is the sort of dedicated work that goes on day and night to keep the NHS running. So much of it is hardly seen by patients or the public, so it’s gratifying to see some of the unsung heroes recognised. We’ve come a long way in the past 70 years, but the dedication, skill and commitment of staff has been a constant throughout.”

Added 26 October 2018

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