RTÉ's brand new five-part documentary series, Keeping Ireland Alive: The Health Service in a Day, is set to give viewers unprecedented access to every aspect of the country’s health service.
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Produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ, Keeping Ireland Alive: The health service in a day saw 75 camera crews sent to locations nationwide. Anna Rodgers produced the documentary and filming was carried out over a 24-hour period on May 31st this year. Crews were given access to all aspects of the health service, with the co-operation of the Health Service Executive, hospitals and community services throughout the country. Patients and staff generously allowed cameras to witness some of their most personal moments at the coalface of the Irish health service.
Every day more than 200,000 people access the health service in Ireland, 200 babies are born and 80 people die. Over the course of filming, camera crews around the country captured the experiences of a diverse range of staff and a steady stream of patients as they accessed care that day.
In the below video, we see Naas man Tommy McCormack, who is living with dementia, and his wife Annette as she brings him to take part in one of the highlights of his week - singing with the Kildare Pastimes Choir, which works with people living with dementia, their families and carers.
Over on RTÉ Radio 1, Ryan Tubridy spoke to David O’Brien, Consultant Neurosurgeon in Beaumont Hospital and Brendan Flanagan who had surgery joined Ryan Tubridy in studio to discuss their experience of the documentary and what the series means to them.
Consultant Neurosurgeon David O'Brien says that he agreed to the documentary telling the producers that "If you follow me, I'll act the way I normally do and act. I'm not going to put on any show or anything like that and we'll do it in one take". However, things didn't always go to plan as David says:
"We were dissecting out the tumor and we come to a point where we're actually removing it from the body and the camera says 'Oh no, I missed that!' and I said 'What? You missed that? Ok, no problem.' So I put the tumor back in and he said 'OK are you ready now'? And I said 'Yeah I'm ready now, lets do it'. So I pulled it out again! So we took two takes of that."
David also shared his opinions on the difficulties that the HSE is constantly facing, saying that doctors need to take the place of politicians when it comes to hospital planning.
If you compare us internationally, we're just terrible. We've got the fourth worst number of doctors per 100,000 population in the EU. Fourth lowest number of hospital beds in the EU. Our GDP is in the lowest 1/3 of the EU. We don't have the resources.
Listen to the full interview on the Ryan Tubridy Show here on RTÉ One:
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Keeping Ireland Alive: The Health Service in a Day is available to watch on RTÉ Player now.