The Health Foundation has aimed to be an independent source of insight, analysis and evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the first surge of the virus hit the UK in March 2020, the Health Foundation decided to support a Sandpaper Films documentary for Channel 4, titled Surviving COVID, to deepen the understanding  of COVID-19. 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.

Filmed over the course of six months, the documentary focuses on four people seriously ill with COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at King’s College Hospital London and follows what happened to them and their families. The film offers an intimate and hard-hitting insight into the damage the virus can unleash on the body, 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.

The Health Foundation’s mission is to improve health and care for people in the UK. We hope that these deeply personal stories 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 people and their families.

I'm proud that the Health Foundation could support this film, 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

Surviving COVID airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 2 December and is available on catch-up afterwards. A short film produced by the filmmakers for the Health Foundation will be released to accompany the documentary.

Watch our short films

Video

Surviving COVID: Behind each statistic lies a human story

Video

In this video, individuals and their families who have directly experienced the severe effects of...

Video

Surviving COVID: The impact of the pandemic on the mental health of NHS workers

Video

This film illustrates the impact of the pandemic on the mental wellbeing of NHS workers and...

Video

Surviving COVID: COVID-19 and the long road to recovery

Video

This film explores the complex care needs of people who have been severely ill with COVID-19, many...

Collection

Surviving COVID

Collection

Surviving COVID is a Channel 4 documentary, and series of short films, supported by the Health...

Related content

Chart

COVID-19 policy tracker

Chart

A timeline to 7 December 2020 of national policy and health system responses to COVID-19 in England.

You might also like...

Event

Webinar: A national measure of health: exploring the ONS Health Index

Event

Join our webinar at 13.00–14.00, Tuesday 19 January 2021, where we will be joined by Dame Sally...

Book now

Blog

Paying for the pandemic: the economic consequences of COVID-19

Blog

Matt Whittaker, expert advisor for our COVID-19 impact inquiry, looks at emerging evidence of the...

Press release

Latest figures suggest the NHS is being tested to its very limits

Press release

Health Foundation response to NHS England’s monthly performance statistics.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Today MPs will vote on whether to keep £20-a-week uplift to #UniversalCredit. Our polling found that 59% of the pu… https://t.co/AzKJELiNn9

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more