To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the governance of foundation hospitals. 
The governance arrangements for NHS Foundation Trusts are set out in schedule 1 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill. For the first time in the history of the NHS, local people and staff will have the right to choose the Governors of their local hospitals, helping to improve the responsiveness and delivery of health care services.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the number of hospitals wishing to apply for foundation trust status. 
Subject to legislation, the first wave of national health service foundation trusts will be established in April 2004. 29 NHS trusts are entering the preparatory stage for NHS foundation trust status. Each application for NHS foundation trust status will need the support of the Secretary of State. The applications will be submitted by autumn 2003.The applicant NHS trusts must retain three stars in the performance ratings to be published in the summer. They must also satisfy the requirements of the preparatory phase, outlined in The Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts, before they can be approved to become NHS Foundation Trusts.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his oral answer of 3 June 2003 to the hon. Member for Sunderland South, Official Report, column 9, how candidates for membership of the governing boards of foundation hospitals will be selected; and if he will make a statement. 
Local people, patients and staff who become members of a national health service foundation trust will elect patient and public representatives onto a Board of Governors. It will be up to each individual NHS foundation trust to determine the detail of the arrangements for the membership and the election to the Board of Governors, within certain parameters. In particular, there must be fair and transparent elections. Governors elected by the public or staff constituency may hold office for a period of three years and are eligible for re-election at the end of that period. Amongst other things, a NHS foundation trust's constitution will set out:
eligibility requirements for membership and what membership means;
the constitution of the Board of Governors, eligibility requirements for governors, provisions for the election and appointment of governors (including how prospective governors can be nominated) and the duties and responsibilities of the Board of Governors; and
the membership and functions of the Board of Directors.