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Medics on TV (from second left): Rick Gibbs, consultant vascular surgeon, Ali Sanders, chief of service emergency care, Andrew Chukwuemeka, chief of service cardiology and cardiothoracics, Helgi Johannsson, chief of services for theatres and anaesthetics, Ruchi Syed, consultant paediatrician, Colin Bicknell, consultant vascular surgeon, Angus Lewis, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Sadie Syed, consultant anaesthetist

The extent of the pressures on front-line NHS staff will be revealed after documentary makers won permission to film behind the scenes at one of London’s biggest hospital trusts.

A six-part series, Hospital, which starts on January 11 on BBC2, will show how staff at Imperial College Healthcare cope with competing demands from a growing number of sick patients while seeking to deliver high-quality care.

It follows staff and patients at Imperial’s five hospitals – Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye. It shows patients being treated across a range of services, from cancer to cardiothoracic surgery and pioneering neonatal care for newborn babies.

Michelle Dixon, Imperial’s director of communications, said: “It’s not an easy decision to allow camera crews in to follow all aspects of daily life in our hospitals. But we think it’s really important to share the opportunities and challenges, the highs and the lows, with our patients and local communities. It’s their service as much as ours and the only way we can ensure we maintain and build on the very best of the NHS is by working together.

“The series will show the huge range of day-to-day activities, from the small acts of kindness that make a huge difference to an individual to ground-breaking research trials that change practice world-wide.

“We’re extremely grateful to the many patients, and their families and carers, as well as the staff who allowed us to show their experiences as part of the series.”

Imperial is the latest London NHS trust to grant access to TV cameras as part of an effort to educate the public in the dilemmas of providing care to a growing and increasingly sick population.

Earlier this year Ambulance showed how the London Ambulance Service copes with soaring pressures that often result in 999 callers being refused an emergency crew. St George’s, in Tooting, followed King’s College hospital, in Denmark Hill, in having its emergency department feature in 24 Hours in A&E.

The Hospital series is made by Label1, a new independent television production company whose founders have a track record in creating ground-breaking factual programmes.

  • An edited version of this article appears in tonight’s Evening Standard
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