Our Care Quality Commission report

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust has been rated overall as ‘outstanding’ – making it just the third community trust in England to have this accolade and the only one in the south east.

Following a routine inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the trust was praised for the way it delivers safe and effective care for its patients and service users.

It is also means that the trust is one of only 23 provider trusts to be ‘outstanding’ overall in England.

In its report, the CQC noted patients and those close to them said staff went the extra mile and the care they received exceeded their expectations. Staff recognised and respected the totality of patients’ needs and supported them to be partners in their care.

Chief Executive Paul Bentley said: “I am delighted and extraordinarily proud that KCHFT has been rated as ‘outstanding’. Every day our teams come to work and deliver our values – caring, aspirational, responsive and excellent – making sure every person we serve has the best possible care and the CQC’s report reflects this commitment.

“Indeed, our priorities – developed annually with our staff, patients and partners – centre very much on what is important to us and what matters for the people we care for.

“In the report, I am particularly proud of the way the CQC witnessed how caring our staff are and the strong and authentic culture that we have of valuing our workforce. I am also very proud of the trust going from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ in a system as challenged as Kent and Medway. Furthermore, I believe the leadership of the board is reflected in the rating of outstanding.’’

The CQC rates NHS trusts under five different domains: safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led. KCHFT was inspected during April and May this year and rated as outstanding in effective and caring, and as good in safe, responsive and well-led.

This inspection covered four out of seven core services, updating the results following our last trust-wide inspection in 2014. These were: Sexual health services, urgent and emergency care, community dental services and end of life care.

Our sexual health services and urgent and emergency care services were rated ‘outstanding’ overall. End of life care was classed as outstanding in caring. Community dental services were ‘good’ overall.

Findings include:

  • Engagement with patients, staff and stakeholders seen as business as usual and vital to delivering services.
  • Rigorous and constructive challenge from patients was welcomed.
  • There was significant cultural shift to dissolve bureaucracy and a healthy and authentic culture of valuing staff, openness, fairness and putting the patient at the heart of every policy, strategy and service delivered.
  • A clear proactive approach to seeking out and embedding new and more sustainable models of care.
  • Safe use of innovative and pioneering approaches to care and how it is delivered are actively encouraged.
  • Leaders have an inspiring purpose, striving to deliver and motivate staff to succeed. Staff felt supported, valued and respected by their leaders.

“As a trust, I believe we are on a journey. An outstanding rating is a huge tribute to the work of our people and well deserved, but it is a platform from which to do even better. To deliver excellent care for our patients, we will continue to listen to our workforce, patients, clients and service users.

“We have a clear mission and vision, and our next steps are to build on the great achievements we’ve had, like our investment in a new electronic patient record system to work towards patients only having to tell their story once; our significant commitment to staff health and wellbeing; our quality improvement programme ­– which already has more than 70 projects under way and our cultural change programme to give everyone a voice,’’ said Paul.

KCHFT Chair John Goulston added: “This is wonderful news and well-deserved. I joined the trust as its chair last year and since that time, it has been evident to me how hard everyone at the trust works to make sure patient care is right, every single time and that our service users are seen in the right place at the right time by the right service.

“While we celebrate this significant achievement, we have not lost sight of the fact that as rewarding as the inspection rating is, we must now continue to demonstrate that we are truly outstanding, now and as importantly, in the future.’’

While the trust was given some advice around improvements – and we are already putting these into action, there wasn’t anything that it must do, which again, reflects the incredibly hard work of teams across the patch.