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£1.5m surgical robot unveiled at Kent hospital

The very latest in robot technology has been officially launched today, at a hospital in Kent.

The Da Vinci Xi robot at the Medway Maritime Hospital allows complex medical procedures to be carried out with invasive surgery kept to a minimum.

It cost £1.5 million and is one of only eight machines of its kind in the UK.

So far there's only one surgeon at the Trust who can use it but others will soon be trained to treat more patients and create a regional centre for pelvic cancer.

Tony Green reports.

Tony spoke to Prof Matin Sheriff, consultant neurological surgeon and Barry Tulett, patient.


'Gills' footballers spread festive cheer at hospital

Football team visit children in hospital to share some festive cheer

Players from Gillingham Football Club have visited children in hospital ahead of Christmas Day.

They handed out presents and some festive cheer at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, even leading staff and children in a round of carol singing. Among the players were Cody McDonald, Stuart Nelson, Josh Wright and Emmanuel Osadebe. Derek Johnson reports.

Inspectors check hospital's work after special measures

The Medway Maritime Hospital has had a difficult few years. It's been called one of the worst hospitals in the region and spent three years in special measures.

But six months ago inspectors saw signs of improvement. And now a full team of inspectors have arrived on site to look at every aspect of the hospital's work.

Abigail Bracken spoke to Alan Thorne, Care Quality Commission and Rehman Chishti MP. Gillingham & Rainham, Conservative.


A helping hand for premature babies as maternity unit shows improvement

Once ordered to take "urgent action" to improve safety - Medway Maritime Hospital's maternity department has made a turnaround.

The unit branded "inadequate" in 2013 and put into special measures - is now "good" - and outstanding in some areas.

And the specialist clinic for premature babies is recognised as offering excellent care - so what can the rest of the hospital learn?

Sarah Saunders spoke to mother Mofi Ariyo, neonatal unit matron Louise Proffit, Dr Aung Soe, mother Navjot Dusanj and Ranjit Akolekar of the foetal medicine unit.

James Cockram's son Joseph was at risk of a dangerously premature birth - but was eventually born at 34 weeks after his wife was given an operation to allow her to prolong the pregnancy. Also speaking, mother of Sienna - Louise Peters

'Hospital safer, cleaner' Medway NHS Trust's response to CQC report

The Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust has responded to the Care Quality Commission assessment of the trust's care for patients following an inspection in March.

“Our ambition is to provide the best possible care to the people of Kent and Medway, and we know we still have a long way to go before we achieve that. Although we will remain in special measures, I am very pleased that the CQC has recognised that we have made significant improvements over the last few months. This is a tribute to the hard work our staff have put in to understand what wasn’t working, and make changes to benefit our patients.

“Since the CQC were here last summer, we have made the hospital safer, cleaner and more responsive to the needs of patients. Patients are now seen quicker when they arrive at the Emergency Department, see fewer different doctors, and are discharged to the comfort of their own homes quicker.

“But we recognise that there is considerably more to do. We are acutely conscious that we need to address staffing levels and recruit more permanent colleagues to reduce our dependency on agency staff. Having tackled many of the safety and quality issues in the Trust, we also need to turn our attention to making the Trust as efficient as possible. So we will continue to work tirelessly over the next few months to make improvements and ensure we provide the service that the people of Kent and Medway deserve.”

– Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  1. Tom Savvides

Struggling hospital on the road to recovery

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.

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