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Published: 15 November 2021

The best six years of my career with team KCHFT

Paul BentleyAfter nearly six years, I will be leaving Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust in the new year as I have accepted the position of designate chief executive of the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board.

It’s been an extremely difficult decision and not one I have taken lightly. I’m hugely proud of everything that has been achieved during my time with KCHFT and I wanted to highlight just how outstanding the teams are.

The obvious highlights have been our consistently high patient satisfaction scores, our colleagues rating the organisation as one of the best community trusts in the country to work for and achieving our outstanding rating, among many others.

But the times I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed the most have been the days when I’ve been able to see our services in action – watch the compassion with which my colleagues treat our patients, clients and service users, talk to teams about their innovations and improvements in the quality of care they provide, and see the difference our support services make to the smooth running of #TeamKCHFT.

I really could not have asked for more.

All these achievements have been possible, because of the successful partnerships we have developed as part of the system, not just in Kent and Medway but East Sussex and London too, because we often play a lead role in delivering. The pandemic kicked us into the spotlight, showing the speed and skill at which we could set up vaccination centres and adopt digital innovation with online consultations, as well as provide expert mutual aid to NHS and social care colleagues.

It showed what can be achieved when we work better together and I think the years ahead are going to be a very exciting time. And this is why I feel passionate about taking the role to lead the Kent and Medway system.

The health and care bill going through parliament sets out plans to put integrated care systems on a statutory footing, empowering them to better join up health and care services, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.

I know the vital role played by community services in achieving that. Community is the glue that holds the entire system together and they can often be the unsung heroes. I’m not going to forget this.

While a new chief executive of KCHFT is appointed, I’m delighted to say that Deputy Chief Executive Gordon Flack will be taking over as interim chief executive.

I’ve spent six years as chief executive of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and it’s been the most enjoyable and professionally rewarding time in my career. Thank you to all our services, the Board, governors, volunteers and our partners.

I hope that you as our patients, carers, service users and partners are as equally proud.

Best wishes,


Read more about Paul's appointment.