Lewisham hospital staff sing on new BBC show

Pic: BBC

Doctors, nurses and staff at Lewisham NHS Trust have been featured in a BBC show forming a choir to represent their hospital.

NHS employees from every level of the trust’s hierarchy formed the basis for the first episode of The Choir: Sing While You Work.

The trust, which employs over 3000 staff  spread across 14 sites and more than 200 departments, will go head to head against groups from other large UK employers, including the Royal Mail in Bristol, in a finale to be broadcast in October.

Choirmaster Gareth Malone, who aims to give the four workplaces a sense of shared mission, said: “It is going to be a really interesting place to start a choir because there’s such a wide variety of people working there.

“Everyone has their own job, but they don’t always come together. When does a porter sit with a surgeon and have a chat? When do they stand together as one and represent the hospital? I bet that never happens.”

At first, the busy staff rushing to and fro down the trust’s corridors treat Malone like a charity hawker on a high street.

But Derek, a kitchen porter, is the first to bite, and soon Malone narrowed his pool of 120 volunteers into a team of the 30 strongest voices.

Eddie Chaloner, a consultant vascular surgeon who describes himself jokingly as a “posh plumber”, told the camera: “The hospital actually functions like a series of little villages.

“I don’t know a lot of the clerical staff, I don’t know a lot of the admin staff or even the nurses.”

Elem Nnachi, a neonatal nurse, agreed: “There are so many jobs in the hospital, honestly – you just see people in the corridor going past. We wouldn’t necessarily talk to you unless we have something to do with you.”

Malone said: “This is such an incredible place to work, and its only dawning on me now how much sacrifice they make.”

The Choir: Sing While You Work is repeated on Tuesday 25 at 11:50pm. The programme can be viewed online here.

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