THE employers’ organisation, the CBI, today welcomed the news of the Hinchingbrooke franchise, predicting that the idea would be copied by other ailing hospitals.

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI East of England Regional Director, said: "This is good news for the local community, which will benefit from improved and sustainable healthcare.

"This trail-blazing decision by NHS East of England recognises the important role new providers can play in delivering public services. It is particularly encouraging to see new types of partnership between the public, private and third sectors emerging.

"The Hinchingbrooke model could act as a template for other struggling hospitals, allowing them to benefit from fresh ideas, improved management and better outcomes for patients."