Published: 15/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5888 Page 3

Foundation trust candidates will be subject to further financial assessments by independent regulator Bill Moyes before they are rolled out in April.

There are currently 25 trusts in contention for first-wave foundation status, following the government's battle to push legislation through the House of Commons last year.

An announcement by health secretary John Reid is expected next week on those trusts that will be put forward for consideration by Mr Moyes and his team.

Mr Moyes said management consultants McKinsey have helped develop a financial model that will assess trusts' balance sheets and cash flows projected over the first two to three years as foundations.

McKinsey is also working on a monitoring and compliance system to allow the regulator to make monthly assessments of a foundation trust's progress.

Mr Moyes said: 'A well-managed, financially robust trust should have no difficulty with the model.

'Anybody who has done a private finance initiative deal would recognise the model immediately.'

He expects to issue the first foundation trust licences 'on or around' 1 April.