Crackit Productions has produced a new documentary series for Channel 5, looking at what life is like for staff working the night shift at A&E departments across the UK.

Filmed before the Covid-19 outbreak, and with unprecedented access to Hull Royal Infirmary, A&E: After Dark is a six-part series giving viewers a sense of the reality of life in A&E departments.

From confrontations to everyday accidents, the series shows viewers what front of house and medical staff have to deal with on a nightshift.  Drug and alcohol related admissions increase, resulting in aggression, abuse and disruption for staff. The security team, as well as the local police force, are integral to keeping patients and staff safe. Factor in the pressure of road traffic collisions which are more serious after dark, with the added impact of the elderly, who are at their most vulnerable at night.

Elaine Hackett, CEO at Crackit said: “Filmed before the Covid-19 crisis, this series looks at the many incidents NHS night staff, not just in Hull, but throughout the country, have to deal with on a daily basis. From traffic accidents to drunken disasters, fights and drug-related admissions, this is a gritty, moving documentary that will show viewers the pressures NHS staff are constantly under.”

The series follows previous commissions from Crackit Productions who have gained access to many A&E departments including three series of Casualty 24/7; a series for Channel 5 following the day-to-day running of an A&E unit in Barnsley Hospital; and two series of BBC One’s Secret Life of the Hospital Bed, an access series to eight NHS hospitals.

Elaine Hackett continued: “The prism of a nightshift within A&E delivers a completely different working dynamic. It’s a shift that relies on three organisations – the NHS, the Police and independent security forces battling together to keep staff and patients safe. We worked closely with the dedicated staff and Hull residents, and we also witnessed the night shift in full swing, where, as happens in far too many UK hospitals, incidents triggered by drugs, drink and criminal behaviour regularly caused disruption to an already overstretched A&E department. We hope our filming will bring the challenges facing the NHS to Channel 5 viewers and beyond, and create conversation and debate about the incredible work of the NHS and its staff.”

The series is a Crackit Production for Channel 5 and is due to transmit later this spring. It was commissioned by Sebastian Cardwell, Deputy Director of Programmes, ViacomCBS UK and the executive producers are Jon Connerty and Elaine Hackett.

Jon Creamer