A HEALTH trust in North Yorkshire has been ranked among a string of organisations branded as “seriously underperforming” while a York trust is among the top 20 in the country, according to a watchdog’s controversial report.

Monitoring body Dr Foster has included Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust in a list of 12 bodies to which it awarded the lowest score in an analysis of a range of “safety indicators” – placing it as the second-worst trust it studied.

Meanwhile York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust got the thumbs-up in the same report, which ranked it as in 20th best in the country overall.

But the report has been described as “part-legitimate, part-alarmist” by the head of the official health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission.

The commisssion which has issued its own ratings recently and says it will not be intervening to make improvements.

The part-private, part-NHS Dr Foster Hospital Guide assesses hospital trusts on a score system and puts them in one of five bands based on areas such as errors in surgery, deaths, infection rates and staffing levels.

The Scarborough trust got a rating of 2.05, placing it in the bottom band, Band 1, compared to the York trust’s rating of 86.99, which put it in Band 4, the second-highest.

The highest rating was 100 and the lowest, zero.

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire, formed in 1992, runs Scarborough District Hospital and Bridlington Hospital and also provides healthcare from community hospitals in Malton, Driffield and Whitby.

It provides acute hospital services for around 240,000 people living in Scarborough, Ryedale, Bridlington and Whitby and is the area’s largest employer, with 2,400 staff.

In 2008/09, it was praised for its improvement in financial areas and performance delivery and met its targets for delivering treatment within 18 weeks of a patient being referred, as well as seeing accident and emergency patients within four hours.

A spokesperson for the trust claimed it was an “improving hospital”, saying: “No single measure can capture the complexity of what hospitals do, and we certainly do not fully understand the Dr Foster data. It does not reflect the work which is being done by staff this year at the trust.”

The CQC, which gave Scarborough and North East Yorkshire a “fair” rating in its own assessment, said it saw no need to step in at the moment following the report.

“Where they (the Dr Foster ratings) are good, we will take them to account in our regulatory work, and where they are flaky, we won’t,” said Baroness Young, who chairs the CQC.

A Department of Health spokesman said the CQC would “keep the situation under close review and report back to the health secretary with any further concerns.”