Another 32 NHS trusts in England have been given the go-ahead to apply for foundation status.
A review is due this summer
For the first time they include eight mental health trusts.
So far 25 trusts have assumed foundation status, which gives them more freedom over their finances and the way they develop services.
However, the regulator has dismissed the chairman of one following financial difficulties, and drawn up plans with others to boost their performance.
There is concern that the transition from central control to relative autonomy has been difficult for many trusts to achieve.
Mental health trust applicants
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare
South Essex Partnership
South London and Maudsley
South Staffordshire Healthcare
There is also concern about a government target to have 15% of hospital patients treated in new private-sector diagnostic and treatment centres, which critics say is diverting routine work away from NHS trusts.
And earlier this month it was announced that four trusts that had been given the go ahead to apply for foundation status in an earlier batch of applications had failed to make the grade.
Mr Reid said: "Trusts already enjoying foundation status are making a real difference in encouraging local innovation in how health services are delivered, meaning greater benefits for patients.
"The applications we are supporting today demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that all Trusts have the opportunity to gain such freedom and independence and are in a position to apply by 2008."
The latest tranche of trusts will be invited to make a detailed formal application for foundation status.
These will be assessed by Dr Reid, who will decide whether to recommend their final approval by the independent regulator, Monitor.
However, no decision will be taken before publication of a review of the impact of foundation trusts currently being undertaken by the Healthcare Commission, and due for release in the summer.
The acute and specialist NHS trusts invited to submit formal applications are:
- Bedford Hospitals
- Bromley Hospitals
- Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals
- Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology
- Dudley Group of Hospitals
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children
- Hammersmith Hospitals
- Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals
- Mid Essex Hospital Services
- Northern Devon Healthcare
- Northumbria Healthcare
- Queen's Medical Centre Nottingham University Hospital
- Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals
- Royal Liverpool Children's
- Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust Birmingham
- Salford Royal Hospitals
- Salisbury Health Care
- Sheffield Children's
- Sherwood Forest Hospitals
- South Warwickshire General Hospitals
- St Mary's
- Tameside and Glossop Acute Services
- University Hospitals of Leicester
- Walton Centre for Neurology & Neurosurgery
Another 10 NHS trusts have applications for foundation status pending.