• Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust and Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust set to merge by 2020
  • Proposed triple merger with Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust collapsed earlier this year
  • No decision made yet on chief executive role, HSJ told

Two mental health providers previously involved in failed plans for a triple merger have now decided to become one trust.

In an announcement made today, Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust and Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust, which both sit within the Black Country sustainability and transformation partnership, said they plan to merge by early 2020, subject to approval from regulators.

The pair had planned a triple merger with Birmingham Community Healthcare FT. However, this collapsed in March 2018 following concerns from NHS Improvement that the proposals would have created a trust working across multiple STPs and concerns over the clinical and financial viability of proposals.

A spokeswoman for the providers told HSJ no decision had been made about the chief executive position for the new trust.

Mark Axcell is currently chief executive of Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust, while Lesley Writtle is chief of the Black Country Partnership FT.

A statement sent on behalf of both chief executives said: “We are excited to be coming together as one trust. We have been working collaboratively for some time, and the announcement today builds on the joint work our clinicians are undertaking to deliver exciting developments which improve services for people across the Black Country.

“A recent example of this is the launch of our community perinatal mental health service which has been developed jointly across both trusts.”

The merger announcement comes during the procurement process of an accountable care organisation contract in Dudley. The two trusts, along with Dudley Group FT, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust and a consortium of GPs, were named preferred providers last year.