Ross Kemp has defended his new documentary about NHS staff on the front line fighting coronavirus, after he was criticised for going into a hospital where dying patients are separated from their loved ones.
The former soap star, who was also photographed wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), said he wanted to tell the story of what is going on in Milton Keynes hospital to help the public.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain it was “understandable” that families were upset that he was going into the hospital while they were being kept away from their loved ones.
He added: “They are being separated for the reason the NHS don’t want to spread the virus any further than they can possibly help it.
“We were only in for a very short period of time, and we went in there with the NHS’s blessing and with the blessing of the hospital staff because they want to tell their story, and hopefully by telling that story we will reassure the public, particularly those who are suffering at the moment because their loved ones are in hospital.”
Kemp added: “The film is about trying to show in just 48 hours how all the staff of the NHS are doing such sterling work on our behalf, how they are saving lives, but it’s also an opportunity for them to talk to us, to tell us what their concerns are, what their fears are, and how they are overcoming them, and also to say what we can do to help them do their job better and also what we should be doing to help beat it.”
He continued: “There are some really important pieces of information that only frontline staff can really explain properly, and that is the point of the film – it’s to reassure people who are understandably concerned and worried and slightly angry about what is going on at the moment.”
Asked how it compared to his experiences in war zones, Kemp said: “Heroism takes many shapes and forms and what I witnessed in the ICU and across that hospital were heroes, anyone that is prepared to risk their own safety to save somebody else for me is a hero.”
After Kemp came under criticism over the show, the hospital tweeted: “We have agreed to give to @RossKemp & a small crew access to capture the amazing efforts of NHS staff in response to #COVID19.
“This access has been risk assessed & agreed in discussion w/@NHSEngland. We believe it’s in the public interest to show them how hospitals are preparing.
“We are spending minimal time in high risk areas & are ensuring the crew are wearing full PPE, as per national guidelines.
“As @RossKemp says, they are replacing any PPE used. We hope this show will provide the general public with vital info & reassurance.