Published: 13/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5905 Page 5

The independent regulator is expected to split the October-wave foundation trust candidates into two groups.

There are currently 31 trusts awaiting the green light from ministers, which would allow them to make a formal application this summer.

The split is subject to board approval, but regulator Bill Moyes said it would mean half going live as foundation trusts in October, with a second group possibly in January.

A spokesperson for the regulator said the move would allow more time for an in-depth assessment of trusts' applications.