Aspirant foundation trusts will only be given three months to remedy inadequate foundation plans before they are pushed back to the end of the waiting list to beomce a foundation trust, according to the Monitor, the foundation trust regulator.

In a drastic move Monitor has slashed the amount of time it will allow NHS trusts applying for foundation status to defer their application before they have to begin the process again from the beginning.

At present Monitor allows trusts to defer their applications by up to 12 months, however, the changes mean that this will be cut to three.

According to the regulator this will be applied where Monitor believes that the issues identified in a particular trust 'are capable of resolution by the application themselves'.

Monitor will however, make exceptions for trusts where it decides that the 'issues identified are outside the direct control of the trust', in which case trusts may still be granted up to a maximum of 12 months for a deferral.

Chair of Monitor Bill Moyes said that he hoped that changing the deferral process would help to 'establish more foundation trusts'.

'What we ask is, that to be an NHS foundation trust, you must be financially viable, well managed and legally constituted. We do not think that is beyond any NHS trust, but we recognise some are currently in a stronger position than others.

'The refinements we have made to our assessment process give applicant trusts with specific issues more time to ensure they meet the rigorous standards set by Monitor when the time comes. Hopefully this will prevent delays in the system that affects the timeline for other applicants,' he said.