THE chief executive of an NHS Trust has said an "outstanding" grade awarded to a medical centre for homeless people was well and truly deserved.

Oxford Health boss Stuart Bell congratulated Luther Street Medical Centre, Oxford, on receiving the highest rating from the Care Quality Commission this month.

The CQC's chief inspector Steve Field praised its "safe, effective and well-led services" and said patients were treated with "compassion, dignity and respect".

He also said the surgery has a "clear ethos" to improve the health of vulnerable people following his inspection in April.

The assessment comes as NHS England considers copying the practice's dentistry service across the UK in a national oral health and dental commissioning guide.

Stuart Bell, chief executive at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs community hospitals and mental health services across Oxfordshire, said: "I would like to congratulate Luther Street on the outstanding rating which is borne out of the dedication of all the staff at the practice.

"Each day Luther Street offers outstanding care, with staff working with one another and patients to overcome challenges that can traditionally be a barrier to vulnerable people receiving care.

"The outstanding rating recognises the excellent care and service provided."

Luther Street has been helping homeless and vulnerably-housed people in Oxford for 30 years.

It began life in a temporary hut in 1985, set up to stop the city's homeless falling through the cracks in the healthcare system.

Now it has treatment rooms for physical and mental health assessments, podiatry care, dental services and others.

During his inspection Mr Field noted: "Patients' health and social care needs were identified at an early stage and services established to meet these needs.

"The practice involves homeless patients in the delivery of services via an award-winning patient participation group and undertakes patient surveys.

"Action is then undertaken to adjust service delivery in response to patient feedback.

"Innovative treatment regimes are employed, for example alcohol reduction programmes that do not involve medicines."

Practice manager Stephen Moore said his team was "thrilled" to hear the news of the CQC's grading and said it was "richly deserved".

He added: "We’re committed to providing care to all members of the homeless community and the CQC rating is a real tribute to our work with homeless people over the years."

The practice's dental team were visited by NHS England last month to talk about how the service could be replicated nationwide as they look to develop an oral health and dental national commissioning guide.

They joined Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust colleagues to pose with their smiley sticks in support of National Smile Month, a national campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation to promote good oral health.