The transition of acute and mental health trusts to foundation status passed the halfway mark this week.

Foundation regulator Monitor announced that Central Manchester University Hospitals trust would be the 113th authorisation, from 1 January.

December 2008 was initially set as a target for all trusts to be ready to apply for foundation status.

Monitor executive chair Bill Moyes said: "We're now at the tipping point - half way towards the goal of an all-foundation trust sector.

"It's an important milestone, although one which has taken longer to arrive at than we had hoped.

"Now more than ever - with increased pressure on the NHS to deliver improved quality, safety and patient experience while driving down inefficiency - the capabilities required to get through our tough assessment process and operate effectively as a foundation trust are essential."

Improving services

Foundation Trust Network director Sue Slipman said it was an "important milestone for the NHS". But she added: "We have only got half the job done, however, and we must ensure the pipeline of potential foundation trusts is kept full of applicants so they can take advantage of the freedoms offered by foundation status to drive up improvements for patients and local communities."

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "We want as many acute and mental health trusts as possible to achieve foundation status over the next few years, benefiting from the greater freedom it brings, and delivering innovative new services for patients locally."

See Foundation trust failure: who's for the chop?