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

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Surviving COVID: Behind each statistic lies a human story

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

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

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

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

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

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Surviving COVID

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

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