Britain's top private hospital organisations are named and shamed today in the first public league table of the sector's performance.

Bupa, BMI Healthcare, Capio Healthcare and Nuffield are among those with the worst record on standards of care deemed essential to patient safety.

The table, the first detailed account of every private hospital and clinic, is published by the Healthcare Commission, the health service inspectorate. It shows that 17 out of 249 private hospitals failed to meet five or more core standards. These include failing to ensure staff were properly recruited and trained, failing to ensure records were properly kept and failing to minimise the risk of infection. There are 32 standards, broadly similar to those applied to the NHS.

The worst performer was the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which provides abortions. Wistons, its clinic in Brighton failed on 11 standards and the Robert Clinic in Birmingham failed on seven.

A commission spokesman said: "Although most organisations meet most standards there is room for improvement. There are some well-known names among the bottom 10."

The tables can be read at