Whatever your opinion about foundation hospital trusts, the bid to become one has certainly concentrated minds at Oxfordshire’s main hospitals.

The application has ground on for two years now. What was already a long and difficult journey, has been prolonged after changes to the application process in the aftermath of the
Mid-Staffordshire scandal — for it should not be forgotten that organisation responsible for so much suffering was a foundation trust.

Having undergone the biggest inspections of county hospitals earlier in the year, this month Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust faced another hoop to jump through in the form of a performance review by the newly- created Trust Development Authority.

There were ticks in the quality, governance and finance boxes — no small achievement with so many trusts around the country now known to be facing big deficits.

However, waiting times covering cancer patients A&E and
non-emergency referrals were shown to need improvement, to meet national targets.

The response of chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael has been bold: insisting that things can be put right by September.

A whole array of measures — some promising immediate results, others seeking to address the seemingly insoluble problem of reducing the numbers of frail and elderly occupying hospital beds.

In truth, the trust only narrowly missed some of the waiting time targets. But getting back on track in such a short period will mean extra hours, more doctors and fresh thinking.

Patients spared lengthy waiting times will scarcely care whether or not it is anything to do with a foundation trust bid.