Three NHS providers have been authorised as foundation trusts – the first time the status has been conferred in more than a year.

Monitor announced today that it had awarded the status to Bridgewater Community Healthcare Trust in the North West, Derbyshire Community Health Services Trust and Royal United Hospital Bath Trust, effective from 1 November.

Bridgewater and Derbyshire are the first two providers in the community sector to become FTs.

Royal United Hospitals

Royal United Hospital Bath will become a foundation trust on 1 November

Miranda Carter, director of provider appraisal at Monitor, said it was “pleased to announce the creation of these new FTs”.

“Millions of patients could now have a greater say over their healthcare and the new FTs will have greater freedom to provide services that meet the needs of local people.

“The authorisation of trusts which provide healthcare in the community is proof that FT status is attainable by all types of health care organisation.”

The three authorisations are the first since Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust achieved the status in July 2013.

The FT pipeline has slowed since Monitor’s decision in September last year to withhold the status from NHS trusts until the quality of their care had been assured under the Care Quality Commission’s new inspection regime.

Royal University Bath’s chief executive, James Scott, described the announcement as a “momentous day” for his hospital.

“Achieving FT status is recognition of the high quality services and safe care that the hospital provides and the dedication its staff give 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” he said.

Bridgewater chief executive Kate Fallon said her trust had “worked hard” for the status, and the extra freedoms which came with becoming an FT would help it to look for better ways of “meeting our own patients’ particular needs and priorities”.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, welcomed the authorisations as a sign “the FT pipeline is well and truly flowing and delivering its objectives”.

He said: “After a lull in authorisations in the last two years due to the hiatus caused by the establishment of the CQC’s new inspection regime, it is encouraging to see applications are being submitted, processed and approved.

“The benefits of FT status are now well recognised - good governance, local decision making and accountability are clear.

“These trusts, like all those who apply for FT status, have worked incredibly hard to satisfy the tough authorisation criteria and today’s welcome announcement is an endorsement of the quality of their services, the strength of their governance and the importance and relevance of the FT model in providing great patient care and services.”