Waltham Forest council is attempting to merge with NHS Waltham Forest in a bid to protect the primary care trust before a potential reorganisation of London’s health structures.

The council met this week to consider the appointment of a joint finance director as part of a “potential merger of the council with Waltham Forest NHS”, which could result in the most advanced example of public sector joint working to date.

The two organisations have commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to produce a business case for the final design of the integration before Christmas. Options considered so far include a number of shared senior management posts, including the possibility of NHS Waltham Forest chief executive Sally Gorham leading the council’s adult social care functions on an interim basis.

In addition, the two organisations could also share corporate functions including communications, legal and governance services, and aspects of the two bodies’ finance functions.

Work started towards integration in July when a council report noted it was “highly probable” that the number of PCTs in London would be reduced after the next general election and that it was “important to act quickly to retain the local link to influence the future shape of these services and health and social care provision in the borough”.