New BBC series will explore whether volunteers can take burden off NHS staff

A new BBC Two show will follow young people volunteering in a hospital to find out if they can make a real change in the NHS.

The four-part series – which has the working title The Great NHS Experiment and will air next year – was inspired by an existing social care programme in Germany.

It will see a group of 18 to 23-year-olds from all walks of life volunteering at different wards across Royal Derby Hospital, where they will experience life on the NHS frontline.

After training, mentored by senior nurses and matrons, the group will perform real roles such as assisting the crash team in A&E, bed-bathing dementia patients and holding a cancer patient’s hand in their last moments of life.

The series will explore whether the volunteers can take a burden off the staff’s shoulders and help to alleviate some of the challenges and pressures faced by the NHS today.

The group will be living together and the cameras will still be rolling at the end of each day to capture their thoughts, anxieties and revelations about the experience.

David Brindley, head of commissioning, popular factual and factual entertainment, said: “We’re very fortunate to be working with the Royal Derby Hospital on this exciting project.

“Taking its cues from a real world scheme in Europe, it’ll be fascinating to see what impact our young people have on the workings of the hospital, but also to witness how the patient stories alter our volunteers’ perspective on the world.”

The series, made by Blast! Films, is now looking for volunteers.

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