Viewers fume at the state of NHS hospital in BBC documentary

‘What is this Government playing at?’ Viewers fume at BBC documentary revealing a brand new hospital stands empty while the one next door floods and ‘puts patients’ lives at risk’

  • Hospital on BBC Two aired the first episode of its fourth season last night
  • It followed staff at the decaying Royal Liverpool Hospital, which floods regularly
  • Meanwhile, a new £330million state-of-the-art hospital stands empty nearby
  • Viewers raged on Twitter about the Government allowing the situation
  • The issue arose after Government contractor Carillion collapsed in 2018 

Viewers were outraged by the new series of the BBC’s Hospital last night when it revealed the state of a deteriorating hospital in Liverpool.

The Royal Liverpool Hospital flooded 10 times last year, while a brand-new one stands empty and unfinished just three miles away.

People watching the programme took to Twitter to rage at the Government for letting staff and patients suffer in the outdated facilities.

They praised NHS staff working in the poor conditions, calling the situation ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘disgusting’, asking ‘What is this government playing at?’

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The BBC documentary revealed the Royal Liverpool Hospital has flooded 10 times this year as its plumbing system decays, causing delays to patients’ care and forcing staff to wear wellies

The first episode of the fourth series of Hospital aired on BBC Two at 9pm last night.

It showed the story of staff at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, who have been left working in a crumbling hospital while a new, state-of-the-art one lies empty nearby.

Part-built with the lights permanently on and people employed to run the taps, the new facility was abandoned after the Governement’s Carillion contract failed in 2018.

The £335million building can’t be used because construction hasn’t finished, but staff have to be employed to turn on its 4,000 taps to stop bacteria build-up.

And the lights cannot be turned off because the electrics are incomplete, and warranties on the new equipment are fast expiring.

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Meanwhile, patients continue to be treated at the Royal Liverpool, where plumbing problems mean staff are forced to work in wellies when it regularly floods.

Leading the charge on Twitter was Labour Party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, who vented his fury at the situation.

‘Hospital powerfully again shines a light on the reality of pressures on NHS frontline,’ he wrote.

‘Shocking to see hospital flooded and learn of the shameful impact of the Carillion mess #BuildOurRLH’.

One user known only as Hurst said: ‘The government should be ashamed of the state the Royal Liverpool is in. They should be ashamed about the whole situation with Carillion.’

And Janine Davies added: ‘What is this government playing at why can’t they step in and help out the NHS??

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said the collapse of Government contractor has had a ‘shameful impact’ on the health service

Twitter user Hurst said ‘the government should be ashamed’ of what has happened to the hospitals in Liverpool after the collapse of Carillion

Janine Davies said: ‘What is this government playing at why can’t they step in and help out the NHS??’ She was among viewers concerned patients’ health was risked by using old facilities

‘A brand new hospital building stood empty whilst the hospital next door is flooding and putting peoples lives at risk. #toriesout #NHSfailing. It’s heartbreaking.’

Although a new construction firm has been appointed to finish building the new Liverpool hospital, it isn’t likely to be finished until next year.

And, because of the collapse of Government contractor Carillion in January last year, the project is expected to cost an extra £100million.


Viewers watching BBC’s Hospital last night, as well as being outraged by the state of a deteriorating hospital, had an outpouring of emotion for a three-year-old boy in the nearby Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

Charlie was having advanced brain surgery to try and remove an aggressive tumour.

Clips showed paediatric neurosurgeon Conor Mallucci explaining to Charlie’s parents, John and Nici, that their son’s cancer was spreading fast and he needed to operate quickly.

Three-year-old Charlie had high-risk brain surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to remove a tumour so he could have proton beam therapy in Germany

Charlie’s surgery, to remove a rare form of brain cancer called an ependymoma was ultimately a success and meant he qualified for the NHS to send him to Germany to have pioneering and potentially life-saving proton beam therapy.

Viewers admitted to welling up while watching his story and the NHS has confirmed he has been recovering well since the documentary was filmed.

ITV journalist Elaine Willcox said she was ‘sobbing at Charlie’s story’, echoing the emotions of many viewers who were delighted to see his surgery was a success

Liverpool’s own mayor, Joe Anderson, has said the run-down condition of the Royal Liverpool makes him feel ‘physically sick’.

The BBC documentary showed how one flooding incident last year was followed the next day by an electrical fault which resulted in medical equipment malfunctioning.

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, insisted the incidents were not linked.

Twitter user Kevin Pascoe said: ‘Hospital is absolutely amazing TV – but highlights the obscenity of Carilion leaving a desperately needed £330 million new hospital half built… How can ex-Directors sleep at night’.

Kevin Pascoe accused Carillion of having ‘screwed the NHS’ and said it was ‘obscene’ the new facility was standing unused while staff suffered in the other dilapidated hospital

Penny Bee was one of many Twitter users to praise NHS workers for soldiering on through the Royal Liverpool Hospital’s flooded corridors and overloaded A&E department

Kristianne Gibbs echoed the sentiments of people complimenting the hospital staff, saying the doctors and nurses are ‘absolute heroes’ and said the NHS shouldn’t be privatised

As well as criticising the Government and Carillion, viewers were also quick to praise the NHS staff working at the Royal Liverpool.

Scenes in the documentary showed them having to deal with flooded corridors and an overloaded A&E department.

Penny Burnard said on Twitter: ‘The flooding is terrible – but look at the staff just donning wellies and getting on with it, no one having a strop and walking out’. 

And Kristianne Gibbs added: ‘Anyone who thinks the NHS should be privatised needs to watch #hospital to realise just how lucky we are to have free healthcare. The doctors and nurses are absolute [heroes].’ 

Hospital continues next Thursday at 9pm on BBC Two.

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