BBC analysis of CQC data has found that one in five care homes in England are either ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’.
The research found that 3,000 of England’s 14,975 care homes had been given the CQC’s bottom two ratings.
A CQC spokesman said: “People can be reassured that most care homes in England are meeting the ‘mum test’ – care we would be happy for anyone we love to receive.
“But as our quality ratings data demonstrates, people’s experiences of care can vary across the country meaning this is not the case for everyone.
“This variability continues to persist and is a real concern.”
Trafford has the highest percentage of services rated inadequate or requires improvement (43%).
Portsmouth, Tameside, Barnsley, Isle of Wight, Bradford, Barking and Salford all have more than a third of providers underperforming.
West Berkshire has the highest percentage of ‘good’ homes with just one service rate inadequate or requires improvement.
Nadra Ahmed, chief executive of the National Care Association, said: “What we know at the moment is that services in the north are more challenged than in the south.
“What we find with people who have different homes in different parts of the country is that, while they have the same ethos and so on at all homes, inspectors can differ in their ratings.”
Nadra also highlighted the problem of inspection consistency across the country.
“I wish I could say there was consistency amongst inspectors but I cannot,” she said.
“I think that is a challenge the CQC themselves recognise.
“A poor CQC report can have a fundamental impact on a provider’s ability to recruit, whether staff or for people living in service.”
The CQC commented: “Whenever we rate a service or take any form of enforcement action, we will always clearly state the evidence on which these have been based – and providers have the opportunity to challenge these as part of our factual accuracy process.”