Published: 16/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5936 Page 11

'Threat to Blair plan for NHS', warned the front page of The Guardian on Monday. The story, attacking the red tape in which foundation trusts are enmeshed, was based on a survey of the 20 chief executives in the April and June waves of the policy.

The survey pulled together several themes previously explored in HSJ. Its top line was that foundation trusts are finding the system restrictive rather than freeing.

This echoed a number of complaints and problems highlighted since the system began to bed down (news, pages 6-7, 19 August).

But some specific points of interest emerged: half of those polled said the government's pledge to make all trusts foundation trusts by 2008 was unrealistic.

Chief executives also complained about the perils of payment by results (news, page 4-5, 13 May - and most weeks since).