Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 6 7

Ten of the 30 acute trusts hoping to gain foundation status in October have had their hopes dashed after dropping stars in this week's ratings.

Nine trusts fell from three to two stars and Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare trust fell to one.

The reasons behind the relegations appear complex. Four in 10 of the trusts - including Chelsea and Westminster - were marked down significantly because of financial management problems.

Airedale, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals and Southampton University Hospitals were also marked down for this reason.

Four other trusts - George Eliot Hospital, James Paget Healthcare, Luton and Dunstable Hospital and Morecambe Bay Hospitals - were marked down on their balanced scorecard even though they achieved their nine key targets.

The remaining two failed on one key target - a new computer system at the Lewisham Hospital trust caused delays in outpatient appointments, while York Health Services trust was criticised for 'under-achieving' on cleanliness.

Luton and Dunstable's chief executive Stephen Ramsden said he would be appealing the results of the star-ratings 'lottery', which he says has marked his trust down for being too honest in some selfassessment questions. He said:

'I am very angry. It seems completely unfair...It is a mystery how we can improve our performance over 35 indicators and still go down a star.'

The Healthcare Commission has assured Mr Ramsden that his trust will not be disqualified from applying for foundation status until his appeal has been heard.

lFour foundation trusts were relegated to two-star status this week:

Moorfields Eye Hospital, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals, Cambridge University Hospitals and Papworth Hospital trusts.

Foundation trust regulator Bill Moyes has written to the trusts asking them to explain by 3 August why they lost a star, and detailing their proposed action plan.