A merger between three West Midlands trusts to create one of the biggest community and mental health providers in the country has been delayed, HSJ can reveal.

Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust, Black Country Partnership FT and Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust have delayed their integration, admitting their original deadline was too “ambitious”.

In the summer, HSJ revealed the trusts intended to merge by October. However, the trusts have now confirmed they will not be merging until 1 December.

In July, Tracy Taylor, chief executive of Birmingham Community Healthcare and Black Country Partnership, announced she would be stepping down in the autumn to be chief executive for Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.

Ms Taylor’s departure date and replacement have yet to be confirmed.

The three trusts have been named as preferred provider, in partnership with local GPs and Dudley Group FT, for a multimillion pound multispecialty community provider contract tendered by Dudley CCG.

Birmingham Community Healthcare is also a key partner in another vanguard MCP based in West Birmingham.

A spokesman for the three trusts told HSJ: “The date we were working to was always an ambitious target and, due to the scale of work required, we agreed together with NHS Improvement to give ourselves a little more time. All our preparatory work continues and we are making good progress.”

Previously blocked trust merger could be complete in a year