Published: 17/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 3

Monitor chair Bill Moyes made it clear in his interview with HSJ last year (page 5, 25 November) that trusts needed more help in winning foundation status. A large number of applicants being rejected would lead to the concept being 'discredited'.

Part of the blueprint for reform set out this week (news, pages 5-7) is a development programme for aspirant acute and mental health trusts. All trusts will also move to the accounting regime used by foundations.

The latest HSJ Barometer survey of acute chief executives suggests help cannot come too soon (page 23). Trusts feel unsupported - and unready.

Only 11 per cent of non-foundation trusts were highly optimistic that they would achieve the goal before the end of 2006-07, and more than a quarter rated their confidence at three out of 10 or below.

The development programme must have an impact on these confidence levels quickly or Mr Moyes' warning could prove prescient.