Commenting on the publication of performance ratings for all 392 NHS trusts in England, The King's Fund chief executive, Niall Dickson, said:
'Overall this report reveals an NHS that appears to be performing well. The fact that this year more trusts are rated excellent and good in both quality and financial management is encouraging.
'The worry is the 32 trusts who year after year fail to meet these standards. Unfortunately, the ratings on their own do not shed light on why some trusts perform well and others do not.
'Patients served by the hospitals and other services that consistently rank at the bottom have a right to know why these organisations are not providing the quality of services that is expected from them. We need to understand whether the problems are managerial or structural, and what is being done to help them raise their game.
'It is worth remembering too that the current performance has been achieved in a period of funding growth – the big challenge going forward will be to maintain and improve those standards when money is tight.
'The new regulator has set more and tougher requirements in the assessment process, which will change again next year. This may be necessary, but constant changes to the information collected and reported make it difficult to compare the latest ratings with previous years and build up a picture of progress over time.'
Notes to editors:
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