Live updates

Hundreds of operations cancelled because of A&E pressure

Hospitals in Kent have cancelled hundreds of planned operations since the beginning of the year because of a strain on emergency services and so-called bed-blocking.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust not the only trust struggling - 50 operations have been cancelled in east Kent because of bed blocking.

That's the second most serious state of affairs. Our reporter John Ryall has more.

Rise in emergency care sees cancelled operations for Kent patients

The Trust is opening a new ward with 38 beds at Tunbridge Wells in March. Credit: Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospital NHS Trust are cancelling planned operations because a high demand in emergency care.

Since the beginning of the year, hospitals under the trust have received unprecedented demand on their emergency services resulting in planned procedures being cancelled across a number of specialities.

Some patients are being offered surgery at another independent sector provider to ensure any delays to surgery are kept to a minimum.

Be are aware that a number of our patients have experienced long delays to be seen and we do apologise for this but would like to reassure you that staff are doing everything they can to ensure that patients and their families are treated and cared for safely and effectively. On occasion it will be necessary to transfer patients between hospital sites in line with our treatment pathways, and also to make most effective use of all our inpatient facilities. We apologise to all those patients who have had their procedures cancelled.

– Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospital NHS Trust


Childbirth trial

A judge has thrown out a case of unlawful killing against a doctor and an NHS Trust following the death of a mother from Kent who died after giving birth.

Mr Justice Coulson ruled there was no case to answer against anaesthetist Dr Errol Cornish and the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. The manslaughter trial was two weeks into its evidence.

Frances Cappuccini, a teacher at Offham Primary School near Maidstone, underwent a Caesarean section four years ago, but suffered a cardiac arrest. Derek Johnson speaks to lawyer Tracey Longfield and Elizabeth Duff from the National Childbirth Trust in his report.

Health trust offers "deepest sympathies" to family of woman who died after giving birth

A health trust - acquitted of corporate manslaughter after the death of a woman who had just given birth - has said it regrets that the case ever came to trial.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust - along with anaesthetist Errol Cornish, aged 68 - faced a landmark prosecution over the death of Frances Cappuccini. The mother-of-two died after having a caesarean section.

Mrs Cappuccini, a teacher, who was 30, died in October 2012 after giving birth to her second son, at hospital in Pembury, in Kent.

Frances Cappuccini, who died after a caesarean section Credit: ITV Meridian

Today, judge Mr Justice Coulson instructed the jury at the Inner London Crown Court to acquit the Trust and Mr Cornish, two weeks into the trial.

The Trust was the first health service body to face a prosecution in recent years. Mr Cornish had been accused of gross negligence manslaughter.

Here is the response from the NHS Trust:

"The Trust wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to the family of Frances Cappuccini, who have approached this very difficult situation of a criminal trial into Frances' tragic death, with the utmost dignity throughout.

We understand that no outcome from these proceedings could bring any consolation to the family, for the loss of Frances. Patient safety remains of paramount importance to the Trust and it has been shown during the trial that a number of compassionate and highly skilled clinical teams were involved in caring for Frances.

The Trust has, however, recognised from the start, that there were aspects of Frances' care that fell short of the standards that the Trust would expect and they have already apologised to the family for this.

The allegation of Corporate Manslaughter has been consistently denied by the Trust and now also comprehensively rejected by the Court.

The Trust regrets that the Crown Prosecution Service saw fit to pursue the charge in the first place, given the additional distress this will have caused to all involved.

– Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Hospital trust in court facing manslaughter charges

Frances Cappuccini Credit: Kingsley Napley LLP

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust is expected to become the first trust in the country to go on trial for corporate manslaughter later today.

It follows the death of expectant mother Frances Cappuccini while giving birth at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

One of the doctors, Errol Cornish, 67, who treated her is also facing a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Dr Errol Cornish Credit: PA
  1. Tom Savvides

New machine targets cancer better

A new machine which can treat some cancers more accurately is now being used on patients in Kent. The radiotherapy equipment is the first of its kind in the county. Tom Savvides talks to patient Chirs Lovering, Dr Rakesh Raman and Mark Fleckney from the Kent Oncology Centre.


New radiotherapy machine to treat 'moving tumours'

The new machine is the first of its kind in the country Credit: ITV Meridian

The latest radiotherapy equipment, which can track and deal with moving cancer tumours, has been introduced in Kent.

The machine at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, is the first of its kind in the county.

It has cost £2m and can pinpoint and treat tumours more accurately.

ITV Meridian spoke to Consultant Oncologist, Dr Rakesh Raman.

Doctor appears in court after woman died during emergency caesarean

An NHS doctor has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of a primary school teacher who died after an emergency Caesarean.

Frances Cuppuccini, who was 30 years old, died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury after giving birth to her son.

Today consultant Errol Cornish stood in the dock, alongside Glenn Douglas, the chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust - the health body accused of corporate manslaughter - a legal first.

Andrea Thomas reports.

Doctor appears in court after mother dies during emergency caesarean

Frances Cappuccini died during an emergency caesarean Credit: ITV Meridian

An NHS doctor has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of a primary school teacher who died after giving birth by emergency Caesarean section.

Errol Cornish stood in the dock alongside Glenn Douglas, chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which is facing a landmark prosecution over Frances Cappuccini's death.

Mrs Cappuccini, 30, died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, Kent, after giving birth to her son by emergency Caesarean section on October 9 2012.

Last month Kent Police said a decision had been taken to prosecute 67-year-old father-of-two Cornish, along with Dr Nadeem Azeez, 52, for the gross negligence manslaughter of Mrs Cappuccini, who was married to husband Tom.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which runs Tunbridge Wells Hospital, is accused of corporate manslaughter - the first time an NHS trust has been charged with the offence since its introduction in 2008. At Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court today, on behalf of the Trust, Douglas, 56, and South African-born consultant anaesthetist Cornish, of Holmbury Park, Bromley, south east London, spoke only to confirm their name and date of birth during a first hearing in the case.

The case was committed to Maidstone Crown Court, with a preliminary hearing listed for May 22.

Kent Police said an arrest warrant has been issued for Azeez, formerly of Chestnut Avenue, Tunbridge Wells, who has returned to Pakistan. Locals said Mrs Cappuccini was a "much-loved and dedicated" teacher at Offham School in Kent, which she joined as a newly-qualified teacher, taking reception and early year classes.

Load more updates