A merger to create the biggest mental health and community trust in the country has been delayed.
The merger of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust has been delayed by at least three months.
According to board papers published by South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare on 29 March, the trusts expect to complete the merger by June. Initially they planned for the merger to be completed by 1 April.
HSJ understands the merger is yet to be approved by NHS Improvement.
When they are combined, the trusts will have a turnover of more than £500m making the new organisation the biggest mental health and community trust in England. It will be called Midlands Partnership FT.
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare is also pursuing a merger with neighbouring Shropshire Community Healthcare Trust.
It was named one of two preferred providers to take over the Shropshire Community Healthcare in January. The other was Shrewsbury and Telford Trust.
A decision on which trust will take over was expected by the end of March but has yet to be announced. According to a statement from South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare FT, NHSI has asked for more time to evaluate the two trusts’ bids.
A spokeswoman for South Staffordshire and Shropshire said: “A revised date for the merger between South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust has recently been agreed with NHSI.
“NHSI recognise the significant progress made since the submission of the Full Business Case for the merger, and are impressed with the plans and work done so far, but feel more time is needed to complete all the internal work, as well as enabling NHSI to undertake their own role in the transaction approval process.”
Trust board papers