§ Mr. Dobson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health why he will not disclose the names of the NHS trusts which expressed an interest in foundation status. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 13 January 2003]: 31 national health service trusts expressed an interest in foundation status in June 2002. A number of these 31 NHS trusts did not retain their three star status in the performance ratings published in July 2002 and are no longer eligible to apply for foundation status so this list is out of date.137W
Following publication of "A Guide to NHS Foundation trusts" on 11 December 2002, applications have been invited from current three star acute and specialist NHS trusts to become NHS foundation trusts. The application process has now begun and the closing date for preliminary applications is February 2003. In March 2003, we intend to announce a shortlist of candidates once the preliminary applications have been assessed.