Geordie Hospital star reflects on Channel 4 success

First published on: 15th March 2022

Head of Chaplaincy at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Revd Capt Katie Watson starred in Channel 4’s ‘Geordie Hospital’ which ended its six-episode run in February.

Now that the series has come to an end, Katie has had time to reflect on the show and its success, and how it has helped highlight hospital chaplaincy.

Katie’s main goal appearing in the programme was to promote the role of the chaplain in a hospital setting, detailing everything from their bedside visits to staff support. “I wanted people to see how our work is about the gift and presence of time,” said Katie. “Our role might look different to what people imagine we do.”

The public appreciated the insight into chaplaincy which the programme depicted. Katie said: “There has been some lovely messages on social media and through the post, which has been nice.

“So much of what we do is so distressing and sensitive that we have not been able (nor wanted) to show it, and so I think this might have skewed the feedback.”

As Head of Chaplaincy, Katie oversees a team of 13 chaplains from a variety of religious beliefs - including Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Pastoral, Muslim and Christian faiths – to provide spiritual support and comfort to patients.

Throughout the programme Katie featured in a number of episodes, but there’s one scene she believes embodies the nature of what it means to be a chaplain. “I think the scene bedside with a patient would be the one that people think of as ‘traditional bedside visiting’ but for me it would be the transitional corridor scenes, when you see our presence for all people in the hospital - staff, patients and relatives,” she said.

“We are the presence on the ground that is a constant across the trust, and we aim to say hello to every person we pass.”

Although the series has now ended, Katie will continue her stellar support of NHS staff. She said: “The NHS is concentrating on getting services back online as safely and quickly as possible, so my efforts for the next six months will be supporting an exhausted workforce to do that.”

Katie’s Geordie Hospital sidekick, chaplaincy team dog Poppy Jingles, won’t be stepping out of the limelight either, Katie added: “I have a lot of speaking engagements booked in for the next few months for both me and Poppy Jingles! In these engagements we will continue to reinforce the message about our roles as chaplains.”

All episodes of Geordie Hospital are currently available on All 4.

Powered by Church Edit