Published: 28/07/2005, Volume II5, No. 5966 Page 8

All trusts would now be achieving at least two stars if they were measured against standards from the year 2000, one chief executive has claimed.

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust chief executive Averil Dongworth said the ratings had failed to convey to the public how much the NHS has improved in the last six years.

The trust, which regained its single star yesterday, has been zerostarred four times.

'Each year targets have changed and so a 'one-star' performance one year could be a 'zero-star' performance the next year, ' said Ms Dongworth. 'Any trust today would have been a two or three-star trust in 2000.

'I do not know how well we have communicated to the public that it is about improving performance, not about standing still and meeting targets year after year.' The trust put its single-star rating down to turning round finance, but it also improved in clinical focus and patient experience.

'This time last year we were looking at a£4m or£5m deficit, which would have been another 'significant under-achieve' and another zero star.

'But we have been able to turn around the finances thanks to the efforts of staff and working with primary care trusts, driving down costs and picking up extra work, ' added Ms Dongworth.