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Created alongside Surviving COVID, a Channel 4 documentary supported by the Health Foundation, these short films highlight the different ways that severe illness with COVID-19 has affected people, their families, health care workers and the health system.

Research, statistics and data are important, but nothing captures reality in the same way as seeing and hearing from individuals and their families who have directly experienced the most severe effects of the virus during this pandemic.

The Health Foundation’s mission is to improve health and care for people in the UK. We hope that the deeply personal stories and perspectives raised in these films will provide important insights into just how devastating this virus has been. We hope it will also improve understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19 and how hard recovery will be for some people and their families.

Watch our short films

We’re releasing a series of four videos to follow on from the documentary. These draw from footage captured by the filmmakers, Sandpaper Films, as part of Surviving COVID, along with additional perspectives and experiences.

Filmed over the course of six months at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at King’s College Hospital London, the series offers an intimate and hard-hitting insight into the virus. It combines lived experience with expert perspectives to enhance understanding of the brutal realities of COVID-19.

The themes arising in the series include:

Warning: These films contain some scenes and stories that may be upsetting.

About the documentary

Surviving COVID aired on Channel 4 on Wednesday 2 December 2020 and is available on catch-up. 

When the first surge of the virus hit the UK in March 2020, the Health Foundation decided to support the making of the documentary to deepen understanding of the impact of COVID-19. Created by Sandpaper Films for Channel 4, the film is about the impact of falling seriously ill from the virus, and what happens afterwards to those who survive it. It also highlights the impact on the health system and the people who work in it.

    I'm proud that the Health Foundation could support this documentary, which bears witness to the raw courage of patients, their families and NHS staff as they battle the serious illness that COVID-19 can bring. Don’t turn away. This is the brutal reality behind the data, week after week, and month after month.
    Ruth Thorlby, Assistant Director Policy, the Health Foundation


    With thanks to everyone who shared their deeply personal experiences as part of Surviving COVID and the accompanying short films.

    If you have been affected by any of the issues in any of these videos, find details of organisations that can offer help and support on the Channel 4 website:

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