ITV Exclusive: access to the wards where the Skripal's were treated

After three months in a surreal but very real world of nerve agents and Russian spies, the ward where the Skripals were treated opened its doors to our cameras.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were treated in intensive care in Salisbury District Hospital. Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was also admitted.

Fears of mass casualties didn't materialise. Predictions that the Skripals would not survive proved unfounded. And today the intensive care team are the only people in the world to have successfully treated an attack with the nerve agent Novichok.

Sally Simmonds reports from Salisbury District Hospital:

The evening of Sunday March 4th was still just like any other when two seriously ill people came to Salisbury District Hospital.

But by Monday morning the start of an unimagineable journey began after the identites of patients Sergei and Yulia Skripal revealed the Russian connection. And the symptoms pointed towards some sort of nerve agent.

After they'd been stabilised in the emergency Department the Skripal's were brought here to intensive care where Yulia spent five weeks and Sergei 11 before they were discharged.

This was a first for the ICU team. Ventilated, monitored for heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation the medics here made the clinical decisions, guided by advice from Porton Down.

DI Nick Bailey

When DI Nick Bailey was admitted on the Thursday staff feared the casualty rate could rise rapidly.

Contamination suits were worn for protection Credit: ITV

When contamination suits were worn to remove the police car from the ramp outside the emergency department, the fear that some may have already been exposed was very real.

We spoke to Andy Hyett, Chief Operating Officer at Salisbury District Hospital:

Expert opinion and speculation suggested the Skripals wouldn't survive - they have.

Not only did the intensive care team here work round the clock during those first vital weeks they also had to take unprecedented decisions on care.

Reality sinks in that this ICU department has expertise unique in the world.

Information on the long term effect on the health of the Skripals may or may not be shared.

A room in the hospital which cared for the Skripals Credit: ITV Meridian