A&E doctor hopes new series shows challenges his department faces

An NHS doctor who appears in a new documentary series about a hospital A&E unit said he hopes it shows viewers the kind of challenges the department regularly faces.

Dr Chris Srinivasan, who is one of the doctors featured in A&E After Dark filmed at Hull Royal Infirmary, said he hopes the footage will help people realise they might be able to get the care they need elsewhere.

He told the PA news agency: “The staff embraced it (the filming), they wanted to show the public the work they did and help the public understand the challenges that we face in Hull, but all emergency departments across the country, with the spectrum of problems that we see overnight.

“We also hope that people in the future might choose differently, or when they do come to us they understand the reasons they have to wait and that we can’t necessarily see them straight away.”

The series was filmed before the coronavirus crisis, and Dr Srinivasan said: “At the time that the series was filmed we were seeing 400 patients a day and at times that was very, very difficult to manage and we are wanting people really to understand that under certain circumstances they might want to seek help elsewhere, maybe at an urgent care centre or within their GP.

“I think the brand of emergency department, of A&E is so strong that people generally know what they are going to get and sometimes people are better self-caring or seeking help in other ways.

“But at the same time, what we don’t want is for people who have severe life-threatening problems to be at home when actually they really need to be with us.”

He said that during the earlier stages of the pandemic, A&E attendances fell but are now rising again and his department is seeing around 300 patients a day.

Dr Srinivasan said he had been moved by the support shown for the health service throughout the crisis.

“I think everyone in the NHS and all key workers have been incredibly humbled by the support shown to the NHS,” he said.

“It’s been very, very touching, with lots of very, very generous acts of people donating things for the team and the staff.

“I think moving forward we personally want that support to continue. At the end of the day the NHS is a finite resource and we need to be quite careful what decisions we make for our patients and, on a greater scale, for our communities.”

A&E After Dark is on Channel 5 at 9pm on June 1.

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