24 Hours in A&E episodes
7 episodes of series 1 aired on Channel 4 between 3 January – 14 February 2023. You can watch all 7 episodes on the All 4 website here.
Series 1 will continue later this year.
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 1 - 3 Jan 2023
Lou Davies, Sister in the Emergency Department
Nottingham born and bred Lou has been in the Emergency Department at Queen’s Medical Centre for 32 years. In her time, it’s definitely got a lot busier, but she thrives on the fast pace and ever-changing nature of the job. You never know what you will see coming through the doors, one case to the next, or what’s coming round the corner.
As a Sister and the nurse in charge, it’s her responsibility to manage logistics and make sure the department’s staffing is sufficient, managing the flow of cases and facilitating the right staff to get patients treated in an urgent manner.
Despite a constant influx of patients and often challenging cases, what gets her through is the support of her colleagues. The department is one big family and there is the most amazing team spirit. To Lou it is without doubt the best job in the world, but surprisingly, she never wanted to be a nurse growing up, instead having ambitions of a quieter and calmer life as a Librarian.
Despite a confident exterior and decades of experience, Lou still has her weakness – blood, vomit and wobbly bones - but she will step up to the plate as and when needed for the best of the patient.
Dr Anju Menon, Senior Registrar in the Emergency Department
Registrar Anju was born in Dubai and grew up in Kerala, India where she completed her medical degree in 2010. She was the first of her family to come to the UK and is the only doctor. In 2017, she joined the NHS to continue her training. Later, becoming part of the Emergency Department at Queen’s Medical Centre in August 2021.
Working in Resus is unpredictable. Anju admits you have to love what you do, because every day you see people’s lives change in a second. Medical school can never prepare you for the feeling when faced with a really sick patient and that responsibility to try and make them better. But when a prognosis is bad, she really thinks about how best to deliver that information with compassion. In worst case scenarios, end of life discussions are never easy, but it’s the biggest decision a clinician can make for a patient, alongside their wishes and those of the family. That’s the reality sometimes and part of the unpredictability of life and it’s taught her the importance of living in the moment.
It’s an experience Anju knows only too well, when in the first wave of Covid in 2020, with the restrictions in place at the time she was unable to return home to India to see her family. After an extremely challenging period working in lockdown, she received a call from her brother, raising concerns about her bed bound grandmother who was struggling with shortness of breath. A video call with her made it clear to Anju immediately that she was dying. Having to deliver that news to her own loved ones came as a shock to the family, not helped by the distance or being able to be with them as she passed away. At the time, as both a relative and as a doctor she felt helpless but found some comfort in being able to be there virtually. It’s an experience that echoes that of many in recent years.
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 2 - 10 Jan 2023
Iona Mowat, Clinical Support Worker
Clinical Support Worker Iona was born in Plymouth, Devon and moved to Nottingham as a child. From a young age, she always knew she wanted to do something with her career that would help people. It was her mother who suggested she work at Queen’s Medical Centre in 2018, which she joined when she was just 18. It was her first job out of school and her first day was in Resus, where the Emergency Department sees its most life threatening cases.
Iona: “I remember that first shift in Resus. It was noisy, it was full of people of different specialities, the machines are loud and people are talking and then the red phone goes off. I thought ‘yeah I think I’ve found my calling now’.”
Even in just a few years, Iona’s seen a diverse range of cases come through the door, that nothing surprises her anymore. But she admits you’ve always got to keep your wits about you and be prepared. The job has forced her to grow up quickly and it’s been difficult but rewarding. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.
In the Emergency Department, a Clinical Support Worker is a vital and hands on role, where nurses rely on them to do hourly observations to help monitor a patient’s condition. She loves helping people and doing whatever she can to make their day better. “No one expects to come to A&E and they’re so anxious and scared. If someone comes in, says hello, has a big smile on their face, I think it makes them feel at ease.”
It’s an important lesson she learnt right away, “I remember when I was training, someone said to me patients don’t remember what you do for them, but they remember the way you make them feel. There are ups and there are downs. You see the most beautiful relationships and people with the most amazing stories. But it’s literally a curtain between some of the best times in people’s lives, but also the worst as well.”
Iona is now studying to be a Paediatric Nurse.
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 3 - 17 Jan 2023
Craig Douglas, Consultant
Scottish Consultant Craig did his initial training in Dundee. He relocated to Nottingham in 2008 to continue with specialist training and has worked in several hospitals in the East Midlands. He’s been a Consultant at Queen’s Medical Centre since 2015.
In his role, he maintains an overview of an area in the Emergency Department. Being aware of everything that’s going on in it is central to managing risk and prioritising the most urgent and time critical care. As a large urban hospital and a major trauma centre for both adults and children, Craig and his team really see the full spectrum of emergency cases, whether that’s trauma or illness. He really enjoys the adrenaline that comes with treating people in A&E, especially in Resus, where they care for the most seriously ill and injured patients. It’s why he does the job and his favourite part is coming to/giving a diagnosis. A&E is often the first medical point when you have to figure out quickly what’s wrong with a patient and effectively treat it.
It can often seem like things are going at 100 miles an hour and he prefers it when it’s busy. But as a Consultant, you can’t panic under pressure. It’s important to stay calm and just slow things down whilst you assess each case. He tries to approach things systematically, but often has to make really difficult decisions, particularly in cases of threat to life. As one of the more hands-on managers, he likes to be as directly involved as possible and goes where he feels he can be of the most use.
Teamwork and getting the best from your team is vitally important. The job is hard, but can also be very rewarding. There are always tough shifts, but as long as they have done the best that they can for a patient, then he can live with that, whether the outcome is good or bad. You give the patient the best possible shot and then you’ve done your job and keep coming back day in and day out.
Bob Winter, Major Trauma Consultant (retired)
Bob was born in Norwich and grew up all around east Anglia. His father was in bomber command in the air force, working out of bases in the region and his mother was a housewife. Both parents were born in the Outer Hebrides. Bob has a younger sister who is now a folk singer. Bob comes from a working-class family, his cousins are taxi drivers, butchers, trawler men etc. Once his father left the air force, he became a teacher and was the first in his family to get a higher education. Bob went to a state Grammar school near the air force base as did many other RAF children. At school, Bob developed an interest in computers and aspired to become a computer programmer, but was put off the idea by the careers officer who insisted there was no money to be made in computers! His next option was medicine and thankfully Bob got the A levels required. He was the first person in his family to get a university degree.
Bob went to the University of Nottingham in 1977, the same year QMC opened. When he was a Junior House Officer, he really wanted to get into emergency medicine but crashed his motorbike and broke his scaphoid, which meant he couldn’t work clinically. He had some friends that were about to do their post grad primary exams in Aneasthetics and who persuaded him to try the exam since there was nothing else for him to do. Bob revised for a month and passed the primary exam and went on to pass the secondary exam. Following his qualification, he was put on call for ITU despite never having administered an anaesthetic! Thankfully it worked when he eventually had to put his revision into practice. His time in ITU made him realize he enjoyed treating the sickest patients. He developed in interest in trauma was born out of his passion for motorsport.
Bob has been qualified for 40 years. He is a Major Trauma consultant but has also been an ITU and Anesthetic Consultant. He was an early instigator of the Advanced Trauma Life Support course which he has been teaching for 30 years and introduced to numerous countries around the world – he is currently the lead for Europe. He also helped develop the critical care networks in the region. Bob was the first doctor to fly in the Cornwall air ambulance and has done a lot of pre hospital care. He is the medical director of EMAS and noted that all of the crews know him on a first name basis. He teaches local and armed police the ‘stop the bleed’ course. On top of this he is the Chief Medical Officer at Donnington Park race track.
Bob retired aged 60 (now aged 63). He is the first male in his family to live past 58. He does a mixture of clinical work as Major Trauma consultant and teaching, which he thoroughly enjoys. He said he will probably stop his clinical work in the next year or so because the night shifts are starting to take their toll. He finds it hard to sleep when he knows he could be called at any minute. He will carry on teaching for the next few years.
He is proud that everyone refers to him as Bob and not ‘Prof’, which some of the other colleagues insist on being called. His reasoning is that, if everyone feels comfortable speaking to him on the same level, then they are more likely to speak up if they feel like something is wrong.
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 4 - 24 Jan 2023
Dr Amanjeet 'Jeet' Dahaley, Major Trauma Fellow
Jeet loves his role in the Emergency Department at QMC. “It’s like one big family,” he says. “Working in A&E you can become friends with people of any age, from any background. That’s one of the things I really love about the job – it’s a great leveller. For staff and patients. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, whatever background you are from, anyone can end up in A&E, so you meet all kinds of people every day.”
Born in Coventry, Jeet studied Natural Sciences at Girton College, University of Cambridge. Going on to do a medical masters in Engineering at King’s College London, alongside working in neurophysiology at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. Keen to return to the Midlands, he joined QMC as a Junior doctor, and has stayed ever since. After initially training in orthopaedics, it wasn’t long before he found his calling in Major Trauma.
“QMC has the only major trauma centre in the East Midlands,” he explains. “What I really liked about the department was I could really see how a diverse group of healthcare professionals come together and focus on a patient that you don’t see too often. There is that really intense focus on that patient for that time and it’s quite rewarding. It’s never nice to think about a human being being injured in a severe way but it happens and that’s life and it’s our job to help those people. When that happens you are dealing with some of the sickest people coming in to the hospital.”
Anybody who sees Jeet on screen in the latest series of Channel 4’s 24 Hours In A&E, filmed at QMC, will notice he is incredibly calm under pressure. “People often ask how do you cope with certain really bad cases? You do get an adrenaline rush when someone comes through the doors, it’s about controlling that and using it to your advantage – you do have to work quickly but efficiently and that’s where your training comes in. Even at med school you are taught how to stay calm. If you express anything quite serious on your face it will impact on people around you, staff and patients and relatives.”
Although he has treated hundreds of patients over the years, Jeet says he still remembers many of the cases – and also the amazing characters you get to meet on a daily basis. “The characters you meet, that’s what really makes your job,” he says. “They say laughter is the best medicine and I certainly subscribe to that. I think everyone would say – patients or staff – that a bit of humour always makes things go a lot more smoothly.”
And now viewers from across the country have had chance to share some of those amazing stories of patients and staff, as part of 24 Hours in A&E, Jeet says he is pleased it has shone a light on the amazing work being done by the entire ED team: “In the emergency department, everyone in our team is as important as each other,” he says. “I think it’s nice that the show has come out of London and the rest of the country can see what it’s like in the Midlands and what everyone does at the hospital. I think it’s been a positive experience, everything from being involved in the show to other people commenting on it.”
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 5 - 31 Jan 2023
Sarah Malek, Charge Nurse.
The first time Sarah visited QMC, she knew she wanted to work in the Emergency department – and she didn’t waste time joining the team.
“I studied adult nursing at the University of Manchester and worked there for three years,” she says. “I applied to work at Nottingham, came for a look round and met the people, decided I could see myself here so I packed up my belongings and left! That was how quick it was!
“I liked the team and the department – but I liked Nottingham too, it’s very green, it just reminded me of home.”
Growing up in Bradford, as one of nine children, Sarah says she has always wanted to work in A&E, perhaps because she says likes the ‘chaos’ of it. Joining the Emergency Department at QMC in 2017 as a Band 5 nurse, she worked as a Band 6 nurse for two years before being promoted to Band 7 last year.
“All I have ever done is work in A&E, that’s the only department I ever wanted to be in,” she says. “I like the unpredictability of it and that you never know what is going to happen. I think I tend to thrive better in chaos, it’s my natural strength. But I am very organised at work, I’m probably a bit of a control freak – I think it’s my personality!”
Sarah remembers many of the patients from her years at QMC. And whatever challenges arise during the course of a shift, Sarah says it is the people – patients and staff – who really make the job worthwhile.
“The team are all so supportive of each other and their resilience is just amazing,” she says. “The different people you meet is one of my favourite things. It can be entertaining. But ultimately you get to look after people on their worst days. They are the ones you tend to remember, the ones you see make that remarkable improvement in the few hours you are with them.”
Meet the stars of the show - Episode 6 - 7 Feb 2023
Zoe Draper, Major Trauma Case Manager
Major Trauma Case Manager Zoe originally wanted to be a midwife. Until a stint working in QMC’s bustling Emergency Department changed her mind.
“I started at QMC in 2007,” she explains. “My first ever job was in A&E as an EDA – emergency dept assistant - when I was about 19.
“I wanted to be a midwife originally then I needed to get some healthcare experience so I applied for any job I could in the hospital. I applied for the job of an EDA in A&E – it’s a good thing I actually liked it! I loved that job.
“Ever since then that’s when I have loved, working in trauma and resus. I just liked the fast pace of A&E and the fact that every day is different.”
Inspired to switch her career path, Zoe went on to train as a nurse at the University of Nottingham and carried on working during that time at QMC.
Qualifying in 2013, she worked on the spinal unit for 4 years and became a spinal cord injury specialist nurse, something she says she still draws on in her current role.
Now a Band 7 nurse, she works as a Major Trauma Case Manager.
“How would I describe my job? We co-ordinate the care of all major trauma patients. To my family I say, any patient with the most serious injuries, those will be my patients.”
Despite seeing the worst injuries that come into the hospital, Zoe says she really loves her job.
“I like the excitement of it and I just think the human body is just fascinating,” she explains. “When you see someone who is so severely injured and then you have all these expert people around you to help fix that person. The rewarding feeling when you see them walk out is amazing.
“You do get the patients that stick with you – and we still hear from some of our patients years later. There’s just a great team feeling working here. When you have been at QMC as long as I have it just feels like one big family.”