The health organisation responsible for planning and buying local NHS services has been rated good by inspectors after previously being inadequate.
It means Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has moved up two grades since last year’s rating but bosses have admitted there are still challenges to overcome.
Caroline Selkirk, accountable officer at Medway CCG, said: “This is fantastic news for all our staff and, of course, for those using health services in the local area.
“We have worked extremely hard to make improvements and are delighted our efforts have been recognised. Moving up two ratings in a year is a wonderful example of how team working can make a difference and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved.”
In the annual assessment, Medway CCG was praised for new way to drive improvement, recognising in particular the work that has been undertaken in falls prevention.
Areas of strength and good practice also included putting considerable effort into primary care and developing increasingly positive relationships with partners, most notably Medway Foundation Trust, which runs Medway Maritime Hospital, and Medway Council.
The CCG’s leadership was also recognised for playing an important role in plans for out-of-hospital care as part Kent’s blueprint for health care services over the next five years. The report said: “The CCG should be commended for the progress it has made in 2016/17,” adding “the focus on improved performance in key areas needs to be sustained during 2017/18”.
Ms Selkirk added: “We have made considerable improvements over the last 12 months but obviously there are still challenges to overcome. We know A&E performance at Medway Maritime Hospital is an issue but the assessment noted recent signs of improvement, which we are keen to maintain.
"We also need to improve waiting times and the dementia diagnosis standard – but there are already plans in place to ensure we continue to make progress.”