THE delay to the Royal Infirmary's bid to become a semi-independent `foundation' hospital is temporary, officials said today.
The way to foundation status was cleared by health secretary John Reid.
He gave his support to the first wave of 24 NHS trusts many months ago. That wave included Calderdale and Huddersfield.
But the trust's application has been deferred by the Office of the Independent Regulator, chaired by Bill Moyes.
The new foundation set-ups - allowing hospital bosses greater management and financial freedom - came into operation from April this year.
They are similar to co-operative societies and mutual organisations. People can pay £1 to become a Trust member and members of the public and staff will be elected to the board of governors.
Every board must have more public governors than all other governors put together.
All hospital trusts will have the chance to become foundation trusts by 2008.
The Government has provided an extra £200m to ensure that all hospital trusts raise their standards to the point where they are eligible to apply to become an NHS foundation trust.
Foundation trusts will still be subject to inspection.
They will treat NHS patients according to NHS principles but will be controlled and run locally rather than nationally.
NHS foundation trusts will be legally required to use any assets they hold to provide NHS care.
They will also be legally bound by a duty to work in co-operation with others, such as primary care trusts, to improve the quality of healthcare throughout the NHS.