SALISBURY District Hospital was the subject of a special report on Newsnight last night, with Mark Urban joining the Intensive Care Unit staff for a full 12 hour shift.

The Newsnight team have been making regular visits to the hospital since last April, to capture "the relentless influx of patients", with staff "stretched to their absolute limits".

The Thursday night show (January 21) opened with Nurse Sue Crocombe, in full personal protective equipment (PPE), saying: "I'm close to tears, actually, because I'm just so tired."

Sue spoke of the emotional toll of caring for the patients.

Sue added that things are "much tougher than in the first wave".

The BBC footage came with a warning viewers may find some of the film upsetting.

But the glimpse behind the scenes reinforced the grave reality of the coronavirus crisis facing the NHS right on our door step. 

Salisbury Journal: Nurse Sue Crocombe. Screengrab from Newsnight/BBC TwoNurse Sue Crocombe. Screengrab from Newsnight/BBC Two

The report included other insights, such as how patients appear to be younger in the second wave and that "constant vigilance" is required from staff, as Covid sufferers can fall gravely ill suddenly.

Another patient, named John in the report, wanted to tell the BBC camera crew about the reality of the virus.

But cameras caught the moment medical staff intervened, moving John onto his front so he could breathe more easily.

Two people died on the day the BBC crew visited, but not on the ICU ward, the report said.

'I didn't think I was going to make it through the night'

The report from the hospital begins just before 8am, with shots of staff putting on their PPE during the handover from night shift to day shift.

One patient, Nick, told Mark Urban he was admitted to intensive care on Friday night in a critical state (this was filmed on Tuesday, January 19), but that he has just managed to walk around for the first time.

'Would you like us to call your wife?'

Another patient was reassured by a consultant, before being placed into a medically induced coma.

The report contained upsetting scenes as staff worked to remove fluid from a patient's lungs, so they could breathe.

Clinical Psychologist Kate Jenkins, who works with healthcare professionals, said on the programme that "since January, staff referrals to clinical psychology were up 1,400 percent on the year previously”.

To watch the programme in full, click here.