It is intended that Monitor becomes economic regulator in 2012 and at that time Monitor’s current terms of authorisation will be replaced by a one-off test to establish whether the trust meets the criteria for becoming a foundation trust. For authorized foundation trusts (FTs), Monitor will be able to set additional conditions under the provider licence. We think it is very likely that Monitor will find inspiration for the new conditions in the terms of authorisation they replace.

The White Paper also promised that the Bill would contain a definite date on which NHS trusts would be abolished. The Bill duly says that NHS trusts will be abolished on 1 April 2014. This means steps will have to be taken to find an alternative future for any NHS trusts that cannot achieve FTs status by that date. In addition to the obvious routes - merger, transfer of services, closure – there is still the possibility of franchising, because the Bill preserves NHS trusts that are franchised, although there are some technical problems with this clause (details available on request). Although it is not obvious on a first reading, franchised NHS trusts will have the possibility of becoming FTs after the April 2014 deadline. The Department says it does not expect to approve many franchise arrangements, the only current franchise being Hinchingbrooke.