Kent Community health trust rated 'outstanding'
An NHS trust that is one of the largest providers of community care in England has been rated "outstanding".
The Kent Community Health Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is only the third community trust to receive the rating.
Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found staff strived for "continual improvement" and worked in patients' best interests.
The trust provides care for people at home, in nursing homes, clinics, community hospitals and mobile units.
The trust's chief executive Paul Bentley said KCHFT's priorities were "the people we care for".
It serves about 1.4m people in Kent as well as 600,000 across East Sussex and London, employing more than 5,000 staff.
Patient's best interests
Mr Bentley said: "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."
The CQC inspectors spoke positively about the patient journey and how staff worked as a team for the patients' best interests.
Dr Nigel Acheson, the CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: "The trust's determination to develop a patient-centred culture has improved services.
"This has ensured that the 'overall' rating has moved to 'outstanding'.
"The hard work makes a real difference to the lives of people using the services. Everyone who has played a part in this should be proud of this great achievement."