Love, loss and life turned upside down: a typical 24 hours in A&E

After six series at King’s College Hospital, London, Channel 4’s award-winning series 24 Hours in A&E found a new home and is now in its third series at St George’s. May 27 saw the first of eight episodes being aired on Wednesday evenings and comments about the show quickly made #24HrsAE trend on Twitter.

The idea of this observational documentary series is to show ordinary people in often extreme circumstances over one 24-hour period. It is a powerful, heart-warming and sometimes comical representation of life on the front line of the NHS.

In the first episode, shot last summer, we see Ashley and his father, who have been involved in a motorbike accident; Fabian, a 14-year-old who has fallen almost seven metres from a tree; and Jim, a London ambulance driver whose life is turned upside down after being admitted with a suspected stroke.

Following the popularity of previous series, the programme will no doubt be watched by many people throughout the country, giving those with limited experience of A&E a realistic insight into what we, emergency nurses, do as well as reminding others, perhaps with injured loved ones, of a time they were in crisis.

The most poignant parts of this programme are the clips of patients and their relatives describing their lived experiences - people like Ashley’s father, who is left so helpless he can no longer pick up his son and dust him down like he could when he was a child.

Some of us want to switch off when we get home after a busy day and will skip 24 Hours in A&E but, for us emergency care junkies who continue to watch, it reaffirms the incredible work that dedicated staff evidently do throughout the country despite current pressures in our system.

Series 9 episode 2 promises patients who fell in love with their partners at first sight; they include pub landlord Tony, who was immediately smitten when he met Laura, but took two years to win her over.

Love, loss and life turned upside down: a typical 24 hours in A&E.

24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4, Wednesdays at 9pm

About the author

Linsey SheerinLinsey Sheerin is lead nurse in emergency care at Antrim Area Hospital, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, and a member of the Emergency Nurse editorial advisory board