Reviews TV

Dispatches: Undercover Angels

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7486.314 (Published 03 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:314
  1. Jane Salvage, international nursing consultant

    Channel 4, 31 January at 8 pm

    Rating: Embedded ImageEmbedded Image

    The “undercover angels” of this documentary's title were Norma Ndebele and Charlie Smith, a nurse and a health care assistant (HCA), who spent three months apiece working at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, and Ealing Hospital, London, as HCAs wearing hidden cameras. Their six months of filming was distilled into a one hour programme trailed by Channel 4 as “a damning catalogue of inefficiency, neglect and substandard treatment.”

    A different director's cut might have shown a heartwarming catalogue of happy patients basking in wonderful care given by dedicated professionals, but that wouldn't have made the newspapers. The shock-horror build-up was duly fulfilled with distressing scenes of patients …

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