BBC Donates Fully Functioning Ventilators From Holby City Set To Nightingale Hospital

A BBC rep has clarified why working equipment was used for the medical drama, following questions from some on social media.

UPDATE: This story now contains additional comment from BBC Studios.

The BBC has donated fully working ventilators from the set of medical drama Holby City to the fight against coronavirus.

The equipment has been sent to the new Nightingale Hospital in London, which has been set up the the ExCeL exhibition centre to cope with the overflow of Covid-19 patients.

The corporation’s production company BBC Studios shared the news in a tweet, along with a picture that showed a ventilator being unloaded off a van.

Holby City’s executive producer Simon Harper said: “We are only too happy to help out and do what we can for the courageous and selfless real-life medics.”

Some had immediately questioned why working medical equipment was used on set. However, HuffPost UK understands that kit featured on the series is real but normally old and non-operational, which is purchased second-hand from auctions.

Two new ventilators were recently purchased after old ones had started to look notably out of date.

A BBC Studios spokesperson told us: “Prior to the coronavirus crisis, Holby City Production took delivery of two working anaesthetic machines with ventilators attached but immediately asked our supplier to offer them to the NHS when we became aware of the urgent demand several weeks ago. We received confirmation this week they had been sent to Nightingale London.

“The other ventilators currently used on set were purchased many years ago and are unsuitable for medical use whereas the machines delivered to the NHS were replacements that would allow the show to more accurately reflect a modern hospital setting.”

The cast of Holby City
The cast of Holby City

Last month, it was revealed Holby City and sister show Casualty were to donate protective equipment from their sets to NHS frontline staff.

The BBC Studios rep added: “All the Personal Protection Equipment on Holby City, Casualty and River City has gone to support our amazing NHS staff at several locations around the UK.”

Production on the BBC’s continuing dramas were suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Casualty is filmed in Cardiff, while Holby is based at the BBC’s Elstree studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, but both shows are set at the same hospital in a fictional West Country city.

The first new NHS Nightingale hospital was created in just nine days to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

It has the potential to offer 4,000 beds at the ExCeL Centre site in the capital’s Docklands, in Newham, east London.

There are also Nightingale hospitals in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Harrogate, with two more announced on Friday on Wearside and in Exeter.


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