A Nottinghamshire trust already in ‘partnership’ with high security Rampton Hospital has taken over the running of the East Midlands regional forensic health service.

Central Nottinghamshire Healthcare trust signed a ‘formal partnership agreement’ with Rampton earlier this year, ahead of government legislation to allow full amalgamation of trusts and special hospital authorities.

Now the trust - which also covers acute and community services - has taken over Arnold Lodge, the forensic health service’s base.

The trust described the latest development as part of a ‘longer-term strategy for partnership between mainstream and secure mental health services’.

The move follows the merger last month of Leicestershire Mental Health Service trust - which previously ran Arnold Lodge - and Fosse Health trust.

Chief executive David Brotherhood said closer working with both high and medium-security facilities was ‘exciting’ for a trust soon to also offer facilities for patients with learning difficulties.

‘It means we have a finger in every pie - or perhaps we are a pie in which a lot of other services have a finger, depending on which way you look at it,’ he said.

A spokesperson for Rampton said he hoped that legislation promised in the Modernising Mental Health Services consultation paper would allow it to ‘become part of a new organisation’ within 12 to 18 months.

Legislation is expected to allow England and Wales’ three special hospitals to take on trust status or amalgamate with existing trusts.