Q&A: Filming with Ross Kemp at MKUH

Date: 11/04/2020

We have seen a number of questions and concerns raised following the news that Ross Kemp is filming a documentary at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

Please read the questions and answers below which outline why access was given, what this access means for patients and staff, and what we hope the programme will achieve.


Why did you give the ITV documentary crew access? If we’ve already seen footage on other news channels, why did we need this documentary?

The hospital agreed with NHS England to facilitate filming for ITV. The terms of access into areas of the hospital were agreed on the same basis as any with news broadcaster – with express consent gained from staff and patients (and any family member) who are featured and identifiable on film.

We agreed to undertake the filming to contribute both to the documenting and reportage of the work of NHS staff during this national emergency; and to reinforce NHS and Government advice to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus to as many people as possible.

We believe Ross Kemp will reach a wider viewer demographic than some traditional news programmes and will therefore help these important messages reach more people. We also believe that the documentary-style enables our staff to more extensively explain the virus, its effects and the treatments available, which will hopefully provide some reassurance to the relatives of loved ones that are currently being treated in hospital.

Mainstream broadcasters – including the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 – have all been given access to hospitals, including Intensive Care Units, in England to film as part of news and extended feature-news programmes. This access has been – and continues to be – agreed by NHS England.

We believe the access that we gave Ross Kemp and his crew was more restricted and less intrusive than the footage taken by other channels.

I can’t visit my ill relatives, so why are a film crew allowed access?

We understand concerns from families and relatives about access given to the media at a time when visiting is restricted. We know how hard the visiting restrictions are for families, staff and patients.

Our visiting policy does allow some visiting, but is designed to stop both the significant number of visitors who would normally be coming into the hospital, and to stop people visiting who may be unwell and potentially infectious themselves. Unfortunately, for the families of patients with COVID19 visiting can be particularly complex as often members of the same household are self-isolating due to their exposure to the virus.

Milton Keynes University Hospital are still allowing certain types of visiting, including partners of patients in paediatrics, maternity and for patients at the end of their life where it is both safe and appropriate.

We are continually reviewing our visitor’s policy and hope to be able to reduce our restrictions, in line with national guidance, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

The hospital is going to great lengths to enable patients to keep in touch with their families  and for our clinical teams to keep in touch with relatives using video and voice calls, our letters to relatives service and patient diaries.

More details on our visiting restrictions can be found here: https://www.mkuh.nhs.uk/news/introduction-of-maternity-visiting-restrictions

Are patients consenting to being filmed?

No patient or member of staff will be identifiable on film without their consent having been gained in two forms – one with the hospital’s team and one with the external film crew.

Some patients have expressly asked to be involved in filming so they can document their illness, the care they are receiving and the work of staff at the hospital.

What access were the crew given?

For the most part, filming is taking place outside clinical areas. Where filming takes place in clinical areas, the crew is kept to a maximum of two (including the presenter) and they are required to wear appropriate PPE for that area. They are in clinical areas for a very limited time and under the strict supervision of hospital staff.

Why are they being able to use PPE stock when it is in limited supply?

The film crew are replacing any PPE stock they use, like for like, on the same day as filming.

Why was this decision taken? Isn’t this just a distraction staff don’t need?

At a time when there is anxiety nationally about the spread of COVID-19 and the NHS’s ability to respond to the pressures the virus will bring, we felt it was important to give a true account on the work being done in hospitals and in community settings, and the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

We hope that the programme will help to reinforce the message that it is important for members of the public to stay at home and protect the NHS. We also hope that it will help to illustrate that hospitals and communities are still running business as usual in certain services, including maternity and emergency departments, up and down the country and that the NHS and other care organisations are there to help people who need it for non-COVID-19 related issues.

Were you paid for taking part in this documentary?

No, the hospital has received no payment for taking part in this documentary.