A hospital in Northamptonshire has been awarded NHS Foundation Trust status.
Kettering General Hospital received approval for its new status from Monitor, the independent regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts.
The hospital's new status will give local people and employees a greater say in the future of the organisation.
Foundation hospitals are still part of the NHS but can set their own financial and operational priorities and are run by an elected board of governors.
Steve Hone, chairman of the hospital said: "Kettering General Hospital's successful application to become a Foundation Trust will be excellent news for everyone who lives in North Northamptonshire.
"We are the first Trust in Northamptonshire to achieve this distinction and only the fifth in the whole of the East Midlands."
Dr Mark Newbold, the hospital's chief executive, said the new status was a real vote of confidence in the staff and a seal of approval for how the hospital was run.
The hospital gained its foundation status after a three month assessment process.