A Healthcare Commission report shows that while the performance of NHS trusts is improving overall there is concern about compliance levels for core standards relating to infection control.
The health watchdog said there has been a "clear" improvement overall since last year with more trusts scoring "excellent" as well as fewer scoring "fair" and "weak" when judged on quality of services and use of resources, or financial management.
The commission's annual health check for 2006-07 reveals that one in three trusts in England improved on quality of services and a similar number did so on use of resources.
But the organisation found there was "concern" about the levels of compliance with three core standards relating to infection control.
A total of 111 trusts out of the 394 assessed - 44 of them acute and specialist trusts - were found not to have complied with one or more of these standards.
The report also reveals there are regional variations in the quality of service ratings for trusts.
The East Midlands strategic health authority had the highest proportion of excellent trusts for quality of services - at 26%, while the South West strategic health authority had the highest proportion of weak trusts at 20%.
Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: "Many trusts have stepped up to the challenge. They have delivered improvements in areas that really matter to patients, such as waiting times. I want to applaud those organisations that have done well."
But she added that the "next challenge" is to bridge the gap in performance by getting the fair and weak up to the standards of the best.