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'Ross Kemp: On The Frontline': Outrage As Ross Visits Coronavirus Patients While They Can't See Families

Joanna Freedman

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'Ross Kemp: On The Frontline': Outrage As Ross Visits Coronavirus Patients While They Can't See Families

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Ross Kemp: On The Frontline has sparked anger after the documentary maker was given access to coronavirus patients while their families were urged to stay away.

The former EastEnders hard man, 55, hosted an ITV doc which offered an insight into life on the frontline at Milton Keynes Hospital Trust in the midst of the pandemic.

During the programme, Ross spoke to members of staff at the hospital and followed certain patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

The presenter and actor also spent time in the intensive care unit, where he saw NHS staff working relentlessly to look after those in need.

But some viewers were left angry that Kemp was given access to the hospital when family members desperate to see their loved ones weren't given the same privilege.

Ross was given access to the hospital (Credit: ITV)
Ross was given access to the hospital (Credit: ITV)

One scene in particular provoked this response.

In an emotional moment, Ross was sent to visit a cancer patient, Anthony, who hadn't been able to see his loved ones since the outbreak begun.

Then, he read a note from Anthony's great granddaughter, which also included a number of pictures of her quarantine experience.

"I'm sorry to hear you're still not feeling too well," Ross read.

"I have been thinking about you lots, and on Sunday I even managed to ride my bike all the way to your house and say "hello" to great nanny through the window.

"I hope these photos bring a smile to your face and you get better, as it's nearly your birthday, and mine! Take care, and get better - love you lots."

Ross saw the insides of a COVID-19 ward (Credit: ITV)
Ross saw the insides of a COVID-19 ward (Credit: ITV)

Looking at the pictures of his smiling relative, Anthony responded: "They're a tonic in themselves, just to see them because you do miss them, my grandchildren, and obviously my wife, but you couldn't have come to a better place.

"The nurses and doctors are absolutely magnificent".

While some were utterly touched by the scenes, others were left with a slightly more bitter taste in their mouths.

"So the family of a elderly cancer patient can't visit him but #RossKemp can stroll in with a camera crew. Doesn't feel right to me," one wrote.

Another agreed: "Any one else think it's wrong that Ross Kemp can go in and speak to patients in the wards (on the NHS lifeline),yet their relatives can't??".

"Is Ross Kemp exempt from social distancing then?," a third questioned.



The comments come after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people not to leave the house during lockdown, if it was possible for them to work from home.

Journalism is listed as one of the key worker jobs, meaning Ross's documentary wasn't breaking any rules, as it was providing a public service.

However, there is debate over whether it was necessary to give him access, and indeed if it was ethically correct.

Tyla has contacted ITV for comment.

Ross visited Milton Keynes hospital and spoke to NHS staff working relentlessly to care for patients (Credit: PA)
Ross visited Milton Keynes hospital and spoke to NHS staff working relentlessly to care for patients (Credit: PA)

In response to the backlash, Milton Keynes University Hospital issued a statement, which can be read in full here.

In it, they said: "There is a lot of anxiety and confusion both about the NHS' ability to meet the pressures of COVID-19 and the type of care that is being offered to those that have the virus.

"After discussions with NHS England, we believed it was important to give a mainstream media outlet controlled access to the hospital so that the public could be informed and reassured about the response of hospitals to COVID-19.

"[...] Allowing access to a crew of maximum four people was fully risk assessed and we have carried out all Infection Prevention Control and PPE measures to ensure their presence at the hospital for a limited time presents no increased risk to patients or staff.



"Milton Keynes University Hospital are still allowing certain types of visiting, including partners of patients in Maternity and for patients at the end of their life where it is both safe and appropriate."

Plus, ITV previously told Tyla: "Controlled access has been carefully agreed with the hospital to allow viewers an insight into the work that is happening now on the frontline of the NHS. The intention of this documentary is to highlight the work of our frontline workers at a more immersive level that enriches what can be offered within daily news bulletins.

"The production was given access to ICU in agreement with staff and patients to help document the incredible work of the NHS frontline. The production team and journalists involved are scrupulously adhering to guidelines whilst filming and staff at the hospital want to remind viewers of the impact of this virus and emphasise the importance of staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives."

Topics: TV News, Coronavirus, ross kemp, ITV

Joanna Freedman
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