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Friday 28th October 2016

Hospital dramas on BBC under fire

18th November 2009

BBC hospital dramas Holby City and Casualty have been criticised for unrealistic and unprofessional portrayal of NHS workers.


Antony Sumara, who took over Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust after failings in care had been exposed, criticised script lines where staff gossip while treating patients and no-one washes their hands.

Mr Sumara is working with patient groups and staff to restore confidence in his trust after the Care Quality Commission outlined grave lapses in standards of care.

But he claims the job is made more difficult because of the BBC’s portrayal of health professionals in the two programmes.

However, the BBC defended the programmes.

A spokesman said: "Although both programmes are set against the backdrop of a hospital it's important to point out that they are fictional dramas where much of action comes from the social interaction and sometimes the human error of the characters involved in the shows."

Other health programmes criticised in the past have been Peak Practice, which sparked complaints from GPs, and Cardiac Arrest because of its graphic scenes and dark humour.

Mr Sumara called on the BBC to promote "the good work and professionalism" of the NHS.

However, the head of the British Medical Association’s consultants' committee, Dr Mark Porter said that while soaps and dramas can be powerful in getting across public health messages about cervical or breast screening, “at the end of the day it’s drama.”

But the Patients Association said while problems of poor practice shown in programmes like Holby City may not be commonplace, they were not unrealistic.


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