NHS Hillingdon looks set to vertically integrate its provider arm with Central and North West London Foundation Trust.

The board of the primary care trust yesterday endorsed a recommendation for Hillingdon Community Health to join with the mental health foundation trust, in line with Department of Health guidance on Transforming Community Services.

The mental health foundation trust was one of two local NHS organisations shortlisted as a potential partner for the community provider.  The other was Hillingdon Hospital. 

The PCT decided that Central and North West London Foundation Trust “demonstrated more alignment” with its strategic commissioning plans and offered greater assurance around improving service quality and service integration. 

Interim chair of NHS Hillingdon Mike Whitlam said: “This decision was based on clear evidence and in particular I’d like to thank our partner organisations, especially Hillingdon council and the local involvement network, who took part in the selection process.”

Meanwhile, the board of NHS Enfield has recommended that its provider arm, Enfield Community Services, be integrated with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust. NHS Enfield also received seven other expressions of interest from local NHS organisations.

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust chief executive Maria Kane said: “We will now be in detailed discussions with Enfield Community Services over the next few months to explore how we can work together to improve services and the health of the people of Enfield.”

The Department of Health’s deadline for all PCTs to gain provisional approval from strategic health authorities for the future model of their community services was 31 March, with implementation to be completed by April 2011.

While the DH guidance on transforming community services offers several alternatives, at least four SHAs have told PCTs that vertical integration with an acute or mental health trust is the preferred option.