The NHS Trust Development Authority has conceded that more than a third of the organisations which intend to become standalone foundation trusts will not have submitted their applications to it by April.
Nineteen out of 52 trusts in the foundation pipeline will be left with only a year to both apply to the authority and be approved by Monitor if they are to meet the 2014 deadline. The authority has confirmed the figure to HSJ.
TDA chief executive David Flory said in October all but “a handful” of trusts would meet the deadline. This latest figure suggests the number may grow.
The authority is responsible for the governance of non-FTs and for getting them through Monitor’s authorisation process.
It declined to say which of the 52 trusts would now not submit their application before April. Several organisations have had applications delayed or been “escalated” for performance management, after missing earlier targets, since April last year.
HSJ revealed last week that Mr Flory’s team was allowing trusts to resubmit their planned application dates. That was seen as an admission that dates agreed with the Department of Health in September 2011 were unrealistic.
A spokesman for the authority told HSJ: “We know there will be challenges ahead and we will be working closely with trusts to overcome those challenges.
“Tripartite formal agreements have added transparency to the foundation application process and so we have asked trusts to ensure that their plans for this year demonstrate the necessary progress to deliver their agreement.
“There can − and will − be no let-up in the timetable to improve our hospitals for the benefits of patients.”
One senior figure involved in the pipeline process said: “It would be harsh to say the [September 2011] agreements were worthless. The pace at which some trusts’ position has changed is a symptom of volatility across a number of areas.”