It's been dubbed the worst hospital in the country but after almost three years in special measures, Medway Maritime has now started to make progress. An interim report shows the hospital is safer and leadership has improved. Maternity services are also rated good. However, staff shortages and low morale still need to be tackled. Inspectors say the hospital is now on the road to recovery but it will remain in special measures for the next six months. Tom Savvides has the latest.
An official inspection of NHS services in Brighton and surrounding areas starts this week.
The Care Quality Commission will investigate key areas, including A and E, surgery and intensive care.
Patients are being asked to submit their experiences.
"The inspections are designed to provide people with a clear picture of the quality of the services at their regional ambulance trust, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting good and excellent care.
"We know there is too much variation in quality - these in-depth inspections will allow us to get a much more detailed picture of care in NHS services than ever before.
"Of course we will be talking to a range of staff within the ambulance trust. But it is vital that we also hear the views of the people who have used the trust's services, or anyone else who wants to share information with us. This will help us plan our inspection, and so help us focus on the things that really matter to people who depend on this service.
"This is your opportunity to tell me and my team what you think, and make a difference to NHS services in the local area."
Noise levels in a hospital unit are often loud enough to compete with a pneumatic drill, according to researchers at the University of Oxford.
Researchers, concerned the noise was delaying recovery, gained a £280,000 grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to take steps to reduce the noise levels.
High levels of noise make it harder to sleep, sleep deprivation leads to confusion, and confusion is thought to complicate the healing process and slow recovery.
Yet our research found that during the day, noise levels in an ICU are equivalent to those of a busy restaurant. While things are quieter at night, we still found that sounds louder than 85 decibels - around the level of a road drill - were happening up to 16 times an hour.
Patients may get earplugs and eye masks to help them sleep, but that doesn't deal with the underlying issue."
Hospital patients in the South can now benefit from a life-saving piece of equipment - which means they can be treated at their bedside.
Brain specialists at Southampton General Hospital are the first in Europe to provide resuscitation, imaging and surgery at a patient's bedside - due to a portable scanner. Andrew Pate has more.
Many of our hospitals are struggling to recruit nurses so some health trusts have resorted to going abroad to get staff. Around one thousand nursing roles are available at hospitals across the south east. Dozens of Spanish and Greek nurses have just started new jobs at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. But managers say they need to fill three hundred more posts. Tom Savvides reports.
Junior doctors across the South East walked out for a second 24-hour strike today amid the ongoing row with the Government over pay and weekend working.
Operations, check-ups and tests have been cancelled as a result of the industrial action, which started at 8 o'clock this morning.
Junior doctors have been at picket lines outside many of the region's major hospitals today including Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Ashford - but Accident and Emergency departments were staffed as usual. Sarah Saunders reports.
Services run by the Trust which looks after the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester have been rated good by inspectors.Read the full story ›
The Tunbridge Wells hospital is converting offices to a new 38-bed ward to ease pressure on the A&E department this winterRead the full story ›
It's another blow to the people of Medway - their flagship hospital, which has been in special measures for more than two years, has again been told its casualty department is not up to scratch.
Things are so bad that the Trust in charge has reached out to other parts of the NHS for help. On Wednesday and Thursday mornings this week, ambulances won't go to the Medway Maritime but instead will take patients to Maidstone, the Darent Valley or even to Canterbury.
Bosses say it's a temporary measure but inspectors from the Care Quality Commission say there's a lack of leadership - and a risk to patient safety.
David Johns talked to Simon Bolton, Unison, and Councillor David Brake, Medway Council. Conservative.
Following a recent inspection of Medway Foundation Trust by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the Trust has asked for support from across the local healthcare system to help them make the improvements needed. Ambulances will be diverted from Medway Maritime Hospital between 7am and midday on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th September. Walk-in patients to the A&E department will continue to be seen at the hospital.
Ambulance patients will instead be taken, according to clinical need, to either Maidstone Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital or the Kent and Canterbury Hospital. Some patients including paediatric, cardiac, maternity and abdominal aortic aneurysm will continue to be taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital.
NHS England is working closely alongside the ambulance service and all local NHS hospitals and providers to implement this temporary measure whilst staff at Medway Maritime Hospital continue to work to improve services to patients. We are also working with partners across the healthcare system to put in place further measures to support staff at the hospital. This includes additional training for clinical staff in the emergency department and bringing in experienced clinical staff to work in Medway Maritime’s A&E department which will allow staff time to attend training.
We are also working with local authorities and community health teams to help improve the flow of patients through the hospital. Ensuring the delivery of safe care to patients and the public in Kent and Medway is our absolute priority.