Confidence in the positive effect of choice continues its steady rise, according to the latest Barometer survey of acute trust chief executives.

Optimism over choice has pushed past June's figure of 5.81 and now stands at six out of 10.

Also continuing to nudge upwards is confidence in achieving break-even or surplus in 2007-08, which has reached 8.58 out of 10.

Confidence in achieving the 85 per cent milestone on the 18-week target by 2008 is also on the up, having reached 8.29 compared with June's 7.82.

However, primary care trust commissioning quality has dipped to a new low of 2.96 against June's 3.90.

The HSJ Barometer survey is based on a panel of 70 acute trust chief executives and is carried out every two months. The next acute Barometer will be published in November.

Confidence scores out of 10

Positive effect of choice on my trust: rise continues 6.00

Foundation status by end of 2007-08: fall continues 2.35

Achieving break even or surplus in 2007-08: slight dip 8.58

Positive effect of PBC: small increase 3.82

IT programme: holding steady 3.90

Clinical improvement: rise continues 8.16

PCT commissioning quality: down on June 2.96

Confidence in 18-week target: rise continues 8.29

Confidence over time

Finance: 8.58

IT programme: 3.90

Clinical Improvement: 8.16

PCT commissioning: 2.96

Financial outlook 2007-08

Surplus more than£10m: 3%

Surplus under£10m: 63%

About break even: 30%

Deficit under£10m: 0%

Deficit of£20m+: 3%

Elective activity

More 39%

Same 42%

Less19%

Model Contract

How confident are you on a scale of 1-10 that the new model contract will improve relationships between PCTs and acute trusts in your area?

1-3 48%

4-5 22%

6-7 20%

8-10 10%

Bonus question: Do you know what your Clostridium difficile reduction target will be locally?

Yes: 83%

No: 17%