It also found that 27 trusts - a fifth of the total - have unusually high death rates - equating to almost 5,000 excess deaths.
More than half of the 27 are supposedly elite foundation trusts. The joint-tenth-worst, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, is said by Dr Foster to have a death rate 15 per cent higher than the national average.
Yet its chief executive, Julian Hartley, saw his pay rise by 32 per cent from £125,000 to £165,000 when his trust attained foundation status in December 2007. He has now left to join South Manchester, another of the least-safe trusts on the list.