Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Scrubbing up: Your comments

TV hospital dramas can be exciting and entertaining but they are often filled with unprofessional behaviour, says Antony Sumara who runs the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Hospital Trust.

He argues in this week's Scrubbing Up that such programmes are painting the NHS and its doctors and nurses in a poor light and not reflecting real hospital life.

What do you think? Here are some of the comments you have been sending in to this week's Scrubbing Up.


Having worked in the NHS around the hospital circuit, unfortunately, TV dramas do reflect true to life hospital dramas because I feel there is more apathy towards the patient and more interest in themselves. No doubt there are some wonderful and genuine professionals, but the general ethos is inclined towards arrogance, self-interest, 'can't be bothered', 'when is my tea break' attitude. NHS standards have without a doubt slipped and maybe TV dramas are responsible for ill-performance.
Anonymous, Plymouth, UK

Of course they do not depict reality, it is a TV show, its not supposed to. You would have thought that Antony Sumara has more important things to be working on than commenting on TV shows. I hope that he give the general public a little more credit than his comments suggest.
Phil Mansfield, Randers, Denmark

Let's do a single episode of Casualty which reflects the true activities within an NHS Trust... mindless red-tape, countless nurses standing around talking whilst others are run off their feet, treating patients with a lack of respect and then playing the victim when patients have the audacity to speak up for themselves.
MH, MK

I am a great fan of both Holby City and Casualty. I am also a fan of the great institution known as the NHS. At the end of the day it is just a programme and although enjoyable for many to watch, no one takes it that seriously. I'm sure many brewery heads would criticise the way the Queen Vic is run.
Karen, Midhurst, UK

I do think that the portrayals are wrong, there's enough drama in a real hospital without adding too much more! I do blame the programme consultants as well though, they should know better!! Casualty was much better in the old format. The one thing that both programmes have going for them is that they may have helped save lives, because people have recognised symptoms and acted quickly enough to prevent possible major problems, that HAS to be a good thing, and long may it continue.
Jenni Graham, Portsmouth, UK

For goodness sake. Why can't people tell the difference between real life and TV? Holby City and Casualty are purely for entertainment. It would make exceptionally boring viewing if it represented real life in a hospital.
Carolyn, Edinburgh, UK

I think that the TV portrayal of the NHS can short change the commitment to hard work and service which many people see in health care professionals.
Debbie Crabbe, Bampton, Oxon, UK

Yes, no way do I want to end up in a hospital with a bunch of doctors & nurses plus other NHS Staff portrayed by the shows on TV. Show the real people.
Parky, Bude, UK

Having worked for 10 years as a ward sister and a career of over 30 years working in the NHS, I actively avoid watching such tosh... as it riles me so much to see how the programme producers/writers choose to portray nurses and clinicians in such a dreadful manner. Reality is so much different and staff do not have the time or inclination to devote to flirting or behaving in such inappropriate ways. They would be reprimanded and dealt with ie suspended if they exhibited such behaviour and attitude. Please BBC CLEAN IT UP !
Pauline Neal, Market Deeping, UK

It's not just hospital dramas. These comments apply to most drama programmes (and soaps in particular). The way these characters act and behave simply does not reflect reality. The unrealistic self- confidence of the characters, their anger, the lack of any social constraints, and their failure of insight into the consequences of their behaviours, is wholly and dangerously disingenuous. If these 'drama characters' are our role models then it's no wonder our society is 'broken'!
Barrie Lipscombe, Somerset, UK

How ridiculous is this?? We all know they are 'Dramas', that's why we watch them. Who'd want to watch them if they did reflect life in a real hospital?! Are we also supposed to cancel all other soap operas too, as how the bars and shops are run does not reflect reality, and how the neighbours interact isn't realistic either? It's called a 'Drama', not a Documentary. The viewers aren't that stupid. We know what we're watching!
Awen, Essex, UK

As a frontline healthcare professional who is engaged to another, I find the portrayal of NHS staff by media to be appalling; both in fiction and in documentaries. If staff behaved even a tenth as poorly as they are depicted they would be suspended at the very least - for instance, last night's Holby City, where a Ward Sister accessed the emails of a Nurse Consultant and a Matron. Either of these are sacking offences.
Tom, London, UK

Yes I agree, many of the 'practices' in Holby and Casualty are not carried out in a true to life 'professional' manner, but if the BBC were to portray 'true' hospital life, then these programs would not be 'drama' and would instead be a fly on the wall documentary! As with many things in life, it would be a minority that actually thought that the goings on in this fictional hospital were true to life, and most rational people take it on face value as a dramatisation of hospital life purely for entertainment.
Fred Sheehan, Gloucester, UK

Get a grip... Holby City and Casualty are not documentaries but programmes that I for one enjoy watching!! I also work for the police force, however, I also enjoy watching the Bill and guess what... that is nothing like what it is to work within the force either!
Maria , Manchester, UK

Unfortunately this inaccurate view has been on our screens for many years, remember the 'Carry On' films? People still think nurses are sex mad alcoholics!!.."I know what you nurses are like"... is a phrase I have heard all too often. People only change their view when they have been a patient and can actually see what goes on for themselves.
B. Parker, Leicester, UK

I agree, although I enjoy watching them with my wife, who is a junior doctor - she is constantly frustrated at the portrayal of dumbed down f1 and f2 doctors who are barely able to deliver any clinical actions. In reality they are given great deal more responsibility and generally have a much greater intellect than is portrayed
Ben, Belfast, UK

The programme gives an unrealistic idea of the level of care the NHS provide. In reality treatment is dire, hospitals are dirty, food is disgusting and some of the staff should not be in the profession. Iain, Birmingham, UK

As much as I enjoy 'Holby', it portrays staff there as self-absorbed, unprofessional and incompetent. Thank goodness nurses and doctors aren't really like that - they would put anyone having to go into hospital off for life.
Julie Griffin, Watford, Herts, UK

What this bureaucrat is saying is just plain silly. Casualty and Holby are entertainment, not documentary. I do have knowledge of the NHS having had MS for over 30 years and I am able to separate reality from TV drama. Finally does this man have any knowledge of health provision or is he just an overpaid number cruncher?
Simon Bishop, Ipswich, UK

I think it is absolutely ridiculous! I myself am a student nurse in my first year. With proper thinking, we can all decipher nursing as a highly professional job. We also know by simple common sense that being a professional means not wearing excessive make-up or jewellery, and not shouting at or making outward accusations at colleagues or (worse) patients. I think it is fine to watch programmes like Holby and Casualty as a hospital drama. But just ensure you bear in mind that the majority of what you see on screen, you will certainly NOT experience in a real-life health care setting.
Sophie, Folkestone, UK

If everyone behaved as they should it would not be a TV drama would it? If anyone actually thinks that the going ons in Holby City and Casualty are a true reflection of life in the NHS there is something truly wrong with them. There are no long waiting lists, no queues in A&E and the wards are always fully staffed how far removed from reality is that?
Audz, Nottinghamshire, UK

I love Holby City, but I know that it's fiction! It's pure escapism, and I can't believe that people take it seriously. It's just a soap people! However some of the medical stuff is very realistic, and I know that a lot of research goes into the surgical scenes for example. This is what raises it above the standard of the other soaps. I couldn't face Tuesday night without my dose!
Christine Squires, Blackpool, Lancs, UK

This is silly. if the programmes were more realistic, then nobody would watch them. The only people moaning about this are doctors and nurses....if you want more realism, then go back to work and stop leaving wards understaffed because you complaining about a TV show
Alex, UK

I think whoever is complaining about the beeb's portrayal of NHS staff has never worked some proper shifts - there's a hell of a lot of flirting, messing about, cock ups and plenty of laying around when it's quiet. But how is that different from so many other workplaces?
H, London, UK

The dramas do not bear any resemblance to real life on a busy ward. The hierarchy and line management are not portrayed accurately. Access to notes and lab results is not correctly shown. Doctors give spoken orders for drugs without writing a prescription - they could not legally be administered. care is given to patients in full view of others without even drawing curtains - it just goes on and on - but viewed as science fiction with a heavy relationship emphasis it is fairly entertaining!
Ro, Portsmouth, UK

I worked as a nurse for many years unfortunately what is portrayed is often true in an least 50% of encounters Nurses and doctors 'forget' the patient is there. and hand washing has always been a major issue with busy staff not doing it for various reasons. These dramas probably exaggerate and use artistic licence but may not be that far from the truth. They have yet to show the night nurses gossiping loudly all night at the nurses station whilst poor patients try to get some sleep
Rob Uscroft, Hull, East Yorks, UK

Hands up all those who tune-in Holby City and/or Casualty in the belief that they're watching documentaries! It's entertainment, for goodness' sake. I would, however, be surprised if real doctors and nurses never flirt or argue with each other while at work, or discuss cases and so on; they are humans, not super-beings.
Helen, Kent, UK

Having spent a lot of time in hospital I do find the portrayal in Holby City and Casualty very unrealistic, and often medical things are mis-represented as well - however, I would never take a programme like that seriously and allow it to change my view of the NHS because it's obvious that a drama is going to dramatise the situation because a true representation of the NHS might be a little boring and mundane.

Charlotte, Mid Wales, UK

Medical Dramas should be called what they are, soaps in a medical setting and like all soaps they are over the top and unfortunately a good portion of the people who watch them can't tell the difference between fact or fiction any more, so yes they should clean up their act
David, Thurso, Scotland, UK



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