THE mind is a powerful thing. It can drive people to extraordinary achievements or drag them down to very dark places.

For those who have suffered from serious illness, physical recovery is only part of the battle.

The psychological damage wrought by cancer, heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions can linger for years and fundamentally affect a patient’s recovery.

So the groundbreaking introduction of a tailor-made psychological support service for patients at Oxford’s hospitals is more than welcome.

It is a modest scheme, only £200,000 a year will be provided initially, but it is a start.

What is surprising is that this is believed to be the first such project in UK hospitals.

It must not be the last.

After all, the scars left by serious illness are not just physical ones.