Two ambulance service trusts are the first to be put forward by the health secretary for approval to become foundation trusts.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Trust and South Western Ambulance Service Trust have both been approved by Andrew Lansley.

Ambulance trusts have been eligible to become foundations for several years but have struggled to meet some requirements, including some of their response time targets.

The government has now said all trusts - including ambulance providers - must become foundations by 2013-14.

South East Coast Ambulance Service Trust is hoping it will become a foundation trust by spring 2011.

Chief executive Paul Sutton said: “Becoming a foundation trust will provide an excellent platform from which we can progress our vision to be a world leader in pre-hospital emergency care.”

South Western Ambulance Service Trust chief executive Ken Wenman said: “If all goes to plan this will be achieved in the first quarter of 2011.

“It will no doubt be a challenging process, but staff have worked extremely hard to reach this stage and we are all looking forward to the final assessment and to working with Monitor.”