Patient care is still "not god enough" a report said of a hospital branded "appalling" by the previous watchdog
The NHS trust which runs Stafford Hospital has been given a "weak" rating by the new regulator.
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was among 47 trusts in England where the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said care needed to urgently improve.
It is the second year running that the trust has been given the lowest rating.
CQC regional director Dr Andrea Gordon said steps were being taken to improve care at Stafford. An inquiry is looking at previous failings at the hospital.
The CQC has published ratings on England's 392 trusts for 2008/09.
Dr Gordon said Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust's poor rating "was not good enough" but it was working hard to improve standards of patient care.
"Patients should be reassured that the trust board have take the issues very seriously and absolutely recognise the challenges ahead of them," she said.
She said trust managers were working alongside the CQC and its partners to make improvements with the aim of improving basic core standards in areas such as hygiene, patient and public involvement and managing complaints.
Dr Gordon said overall the ratings for the region had been "disappointing" because although six were rated "excellent", four were marked "weak".
Last year only Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust was rated "weak".
An inquiry is currently under way into failings at Stafford between 2005 and 2008.
The hospital was criticised in March by the CQC's predecessor, the Healthcare Commission, which said "appalling" emergency care during that period had led to patients "dying needlessly".
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