TV presenter John Craven gave enormous praise to the 'fantastic' Horton General Hospital as he cut the ribbon for a new service to get patients home sooner.
The Countryfile presenter, who lives locally and is president of Radio Horton, threw his support behind the new 'integrated services hub' at the launch today (Friday, March 1).
It is designed to support patients by having staff from the different specialisms to do with recovery working in the same office to make them feel like one team.
Mr Craven described it as a 'brilliant' scheme, one that will make the Horton 'more efficient' as 'nobody wants to stay in hospital any longer than they really need to'.
"The relationships that are going to build up around getting people home reasonably quickly and looking after them once their at home, keeping an eye on them, that is exactly what should be happening," he said.
"So I wish this hub every success and all of you who work in it."
Before the ribbon-cutting, Mr Craven gave a rousing speech about the importance of the hospital to the Banburyshire community, saying the prospect of losing it 'filled him with horror'.
"I can't imagine what this community in Banbury would be like without this hospital," he said.
"The fact that it has been under-threat and is still under-threat fills me with horror that we might be losing a facility like this, especially as this area is growing so rapidly.
"So many new houses are being built in the area, lots of new businesses, there's a rapid train service to London so we've got a lot more commuters now.
"All the more need for a very, very good hospital, which we have at the moment and we want to keep don't we?
"We all don't want any threat to the future of this fantastic hospital which, certainly for my family, has almost been a lifeline."
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation director of strategy, Kathy Hall, quickly clarified: “We’d like to give everyone the assurance that there is no threat to the Horton hospital.
"It’s a highly valued part of our trust, we have a very exciting vision for its future, and are absolutely committed to it.
"Developments like this hub are very much part of our vision for the Horton.”
Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, ‘hospital at home’, the home assessment reablement team and the new stroke early supported discharge team will all be based in the newly-refurbished Rowan Day Centre.
Burnham Ward charge nurse Tim Lewitt care for patients with both short and long-term illnesses and believes that if hub can get them home sooner then that is something worth doing.
"Importantly it's about getting people into the right place quickly because spending a long time in the hospital isn't generally good for anybody and people will generally make a better recovery in an appropriate place," he said.
Head of therapies Terry Cordrey said the feedback from staff has been fantastic so far.
"We have incredibly hard-working nursing, therapy and care teams so my expectation is that this will only enhance patient care," he said.
"We've got the work ethic, we've got good working conditions in the integrated hub so it's good for staff and patients."
Director of improvement and culture John Drew said the hub shows the trust's commitment to the Horton, which is good for staff morale, and will ultimately make life easier for patients.
"The strong link between the relationships within the team and being able to do a better job for the patient," he said.
"I think that teams can think they understand what they do but once you've put a name to a face and it feels like one team.
"I think that will lead to benefits that at the moment are hard to anticipate or be able to describe but I think that sense of being one team working on behalf of the patient could be quite significant."