The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Integration is the name and closer working is the game as two mental health providers are set to become even more familiar with one another.

Jinjer Kandola, who is chief executive of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, will take up the same position at Camden and Islington Foundation Trust this October.

The two already have a joint chair in Jackie Smith, and previously announced they had formed a “strategic alliance” with one another, so this appointment may not come as too much of a surprise.

It does beg the question of whether a merger is on the horizon, although both stressed they would remain “distinct organisations” at the time.

Ms Kandola’s appointment comes as Angela McNab leaves her role as CIFT chief to become a joint senior responsible officer for the London mental health transformation programme.

McNab, a former director of public health, delivery and performance at the Department of Health, departs after nearly six years in the top job. She oversaw the trust’s improved Care Quality Commission rating from “requires improvement” to “good”.

Ms Smith said: “While we are extremely sorry to see Angela leave, Jinjer’s appointment is a hugely positive move for both of our organisations.”

The bottom line

Pay integrated care system directors more and you will entice the kind of people with the muscle to “hold the ring” among provider trusts.

That is the view of some NHS leaders who have spoken to HSJ. They say NHS England should set higher pay rates for these directors than most currently receive, with the aim of attracting people who can be effective in getting the job done.

At present, many ICS executive leaders are substantively employed as clinical commissioning group chief executives, meaning they normally receive less than peers in trusts and foundation trusts.

Jon Restell, chief executive of NHS managers union Managers in Partnership, told HSJ a debate had emerged about the issue. He said: “If the role of an ICS [is going to be] to hold the ring, to really bring people forward, then they are going to have to be the [trust] chief executives… becoming those ICS leaders.

“If you’re paying £60,000, £80,000, or even £100,000 less [than trust CEO salaries], then why would they go?”