George Cathro is making a television series on cancer care at the Western General Hospitals trust in Edinburgh. The project was partly inspired by personal experience - both his parents died of cancer.
'After seeing my mother at one of her appointments, I wrote some thoughts on doing something for a lay audience that reflected the experience of different people at all stages of cancer care.'
Some months after his mother had died, he got a call out of the blue from a hospital consultant acquaintance. After talks with the trust, and a commission from the BBC, a six-part series was born under the working title The Clinic. It is due to be transmitted by BBC Scotland, next February.
'Given the large incidence of cancer in Scotland it is an emotive and fearful subject for many people. For all sorts of reasons television has kept away from it.'
The series will look at cancer care over a nine-month period through the eyes of patients. 'We are following them through their care, talking about how it has affected their lives and their families,' Mr Cathro says. He hopes the programme will inform viewers and dispel some misconceptions. He shadowed hospital consultants and staff in preparation, and spent weeks working out a contract with the trust, agreeing what can and can't be filmed.
He hopes to keep disruption to a minimum by using a tiny, hand-held digital camera that works well in low light, obviating the need for cumbersome lighting equipment and someone to operate it. The budget allows 60 filming days over the nine months - long enough, Mr Cathro believes, to do justice to the complexities of the subject.
Patients are given a major say in what they want filmed. The consent forms they sign allow them to withdraw their participation up to 48 hours before the programme is transmitted. Patients who have agreed to participate take it seriously, Mr Cathro says.