• Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust and Black Country Partnership FT have found no suitable candidates
  • Failed joint appointment comes ahead of planned merger next year

Two West Midlands trusts have failed to appoint a joint chair ahead of their merger next year.

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust and Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust have not been able to fill the position despite plans to merge by April 2020. 

According to papers from Black Country Partnership FT’s February board meeting, governing body members had concluded there were no suitable candidates, despite a “robust” interview process.

According to the meeting minutes, BCPFT chief executive Lesley Writtle, said she was confident NHS Improvement “remained supportive for the transaction irrespective of the failing to appoint”. 

As they have failed to make a joint appointment, both trusts have extended the terms for their respective chairs for a further year. HSJ asked the providers whether their current chairs were eligible to be considered for the joint position, but both declined to comment.

The two trusts were also unable to confirm when they plan to re-advertise the position or when they plan to appoint a joint chief executive. 

A spokeswoman for both providers said: “Discussions are ongoing between the two trusts and NHS Improvement regarding leadership plans to support the merged trust, which will include the role of the chair.”

She added: “There are no planned changes to the timelines. We are still working to a planned merger date of 2020.” 

Last year, HSJ reported the two trusts were forced to abort a triple merger with Birmingham Community Healthcare FT, due to concerns from NHSI over the financial viability of the business case.