Published: 07/11/2002, Volume II2, No. 5830 Page 5

Among the most enthusiastic supporters of foundation hospitals is University Hospital Birmingham trust chief executive Mark Britnell.He hopes that following consultation with local stakeholders, his trust might be among the first wave of foundation trusts.

He added: 'The ideas I found really exciting were around the stakeholder councils.There is going to be flexibility about their shape, about their membership - not one size fits all, imposed from above. It is going to allow us to give the local community and our staff a real say in what we are doing.'

Bradford Hospitals trust chief executive David Jackson said: 'We remain buoyed by the potential opportunities that foundation hospital status offers this trust, and remain enthusiastic to pursue matters further.

He added: 'It is also clear that they provide a welcome opportunity for us to be properly regulated and funded, rather than be controlled in a bureaucratic way.

Julian Nettel, chief executive of St Mary's trust in London, said: 'I think what is more important for us, as a trust which got its three-star rating this year, is to concentrate on maintaining that position over the next year.We probably will not be among the first wave of trusts.'

The sentiment was echoed by James Birrell, chief executive of Aintree Hospital trust: 'It may not be the first wave but I would want to be part of the system in the foreseeable future.'