With just three weeks to go before the new primary care trusts officially take over, 53 are without a chair and no non-executive directors have been appointed.

With just three weeks to go before the new primary care trusts officially take over, 53 are without a chair and no non-executive directors have been appointed.

A survey by HSJhas found that in every new strategic health authority area there are PCTs without chairs. In London, no new chairs have been appointed and the process is only just underway.

A number of SHA press offices said they had 'no idea' when the remaining appointments would be made although a spokesperson for the West Midlands said: 'We have been assured that all appointments will be made before the end of September. All PCTs will have quorate boards on 1 October.'

According to HSJsources, candidates who applied for non-executive director posts have yet to hear the outcome of the first sift. One said: 'We had expected to hear in August but we are still waiting.'

The NHS Appointments Commission said the appointments process was ongoing. Of the first 94 appointments, 68 (72 per cent) were people who had previously served as PCT chairs.

But it admitted that not all non-executive directors will be in place by 1 October, especially in areas that have interim chairs, where appointments will wait until a permanent chair is in post.

In a statement, the commission said: 'The first of the non-executive director appointments will be made at the commission's meeting [this] week. From then on there will be a rolling programme with the bulk of them having been made by the end of September.'