All but two trusts submitted their Care Quality Commission registration applications on time, the regulator has told HSJ.

The CQC declined to name those that missed the deadline last Friday but said one had arrived by Monday and the other was expected within the week.

There were quite a few things in the process that weren’t clear

It follows complaints from some managers that the registration process was “chaotic” and that NHS East of England chief executive Sir Neil McKay had been brought in to provide “challenge”.

Director of registration Linda Hutchinson said in a statement this week that 377 registration applications had been received. Four trusts had previously agreed with the CQC that they would not apply because they were “losing services or gaining new registerable services”.

Ms Hutchinson said: “This represents an impressive achievement on behalf of the NHS, which has worked hard to understand the new legal requirements, get internal assurance including board sign off and make their submissions to a very challenging timetable.”

But Dorset Healthcare Foundation Trust chief executive Roger Browning, whose organisation submitted its application several days before the deadline, criticised the process.

He said: “There were quite a few things in the process that weren’t clear and when people questioned them [the CQC] they couldn’t get a clear answer.

The system may have been designed around acute hospitals rather than other services, he suggested. Mr Browning said the submission process itself - via a web based form - had been “slow and laborious”.

But County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust chief executive Stephen Eames said his trust was satisfied with the process: “It has been pretty straightforward - we haven’t experienced any difficulties.”