BBC reporter Clive Myrie spent time at The Royal London's new critical care unit to capture the impact of coronavirus on those at the heart of the pandemic – sharing with the world what life has been like for its diverse staff, patients and community.
The result was four flagship BBC National News stories aired over a week in May, followed by a documentary on BBC News 24 and BBC World in June titled London in the Shadow of a Virus.
The powerful reports had a reach of over 4.5 billion people worldwide. A total of 496 broadcast pieces and 27 online pieces were shown across a wide range of BBC sources including BBC News, BBC News 24, BBC World News and UK BBC regional services.
The first news piece, which aired on 26 May captivated the country and ‘Royal London Hospital’ was trending on Twitter as a result.
Clive also wrote a piece in the Express reflecting on his confronting time on the dedicated coronavirus critical care ward, asserting that his admiration for staff ‘knows no bounds’.
Chief Executive of The Royal London, Jackie Sullivan praised those who were brave enough to share their story: “The films exhibited the absolute commitment of all of our teams during this challenging time with some really moving insights into their roles and the impact that the pandemic has had. This is the most outstanding piece of media coverage I have seen during this time and I am proud that it was based at The Royal London Hospital.”
At the peak of the pandemic in April, Barts Health was treating 616 Covid-positive patients of whom 135 required critical care, over 80 of those at The Royal London. Over 600 patients have sadly died across the trust but almost 2,000 lives have been saved. The BBC coverage showed the story of a handful of the humans affected by these statistics, reflecting the effect of the virus on those on the frontline and the ripple effects felt in the local community.
Feedback continued from stakeholders, public figures, the local community and staff. The news pieces are available to view on Youtube and below.