One in nine NHS trusts are performing badly or failing to improve and must ‘do better for their patients’, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.
The 47 trusts at the bottom of a recently published performance table now face an uphill struggle to meet new legal standards for the NHS when they are introduced next year.
The struggling organisations received a stark warning from CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower that there must be rapid improvements in standards.
“They must do better for their patients. I want to ring alarm bells in the boardrooms of these organisations,” she said.
The ratings are produced by the CQC from a variety of sources, including information provided by trusts, their own inspections and audits of hospital finances.
Trusts are given ratings from “weak” to “excellent” based on how they score on their financial management and the quality of care they provide.
Next year the CQC will be given tough new powers to force trusts to meet certain basic standards in order to remain open.
If they fail to reach those benchmarks the regulator can impose a range of sanctions including prosecution and closing a service down.
Nearly half of all trusts - 47% - were awarded a “good” rating for care, up on 35% in 2007-08.
Only one, Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, scored “weak” for both the standard of care and the way it manages its finances.
Ms Bower said: “The NHS has performed well on quality, but it is clear that some trusts are struggling and that some issues are proving tough nuts to crack. My biggest concern is those trusts that are ‘weak’ and persistently ‘weak’ or ‘fair’.”