We should not under-estimate the importance of the five-year plan which has been drawn up by Kettering General Hospital under new chief executive David Sissling.
In recent years there have been very real fears that some of the key hospital services that we have come to rely on and expect to be delivered at a district general hospital would be removed from Kettering, and possibly even the county.
An initial project looking at the delivery of services on a regional level is now, thankfully, defunct.
Instead, Kettering General Hospital officials will work on a more local basis to deliver the best possible services they can.
There is an assurance that key services – accident and emergency, maternity, paediatrics, acute medicine, general surgery and care of the elderly – will remain in Kettering.
That is not to say that the way these services are provided will not be closely examined and potentially changed to ensure we all get what we deserve from our National Health Service.
There are also still significant financial challenges, but there are some very encouraging signs.
People in the north of the county deserve to be able to give birth, have their children treated and undergo surgery at their local hospital. And in later life we should not have to travel far for essential services.
It seems we are making good progress towards those very reasonable goals.
Neil Pickford, Editor