Confidence has leapt up in our acute trust chief executives about the chances of achieving financial break-even this year - the score out of 10 rose from 5.78 to 6.80.

Confidence has leapt up in our acute trust chief executives about the chances of achieving financial break-even this year - the score out of 10 rose from 5.78 to 6.80.

However, at the same time the percentage of trusts saying they will have a deficit of more than£10m has risen from 4 to 7 per cent.

The latest Barometer of acute trust chief executives also showed slow but gradual improvements in confidence in the national IT programme.

TheHSJ Barometer survey is based on a panel of 70 acute trust chief executives and is carried out every two months. The panel is asked to give a score of 1 to 10 against key indicators. These figures shows results taken at the beginning of October, while the graph indicates main trends over time. The next acute barometer will be published on 4 January 2007.