Clinical commissioning groups in the Black Country have set out a timeline to procure a single acute and single mental health contract across their sustainability and transformation plan area, HSJ has learned.

Dudley, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Walsall, and Wolverhampton CCGs have said they will aim to “mobilise” a single acute and mental health contract by May 2019 as part of plans to establish an STP-wide accountable care organisation.

The move comes after HSJ reported that the CCGs intend to create an integrated commissioning structure by 2018 and transfer some commissioning responsibilities to new care models by April 2019.

In Wolverhampton CCG’s board papers, published this week, commissioners said they will aim to mobilise a single acute contract and a single mental health contract across the region from October 2018 to May 2019.

The same timeline was also given for establishing a Black Country-wide accountable care organisation.

Although the CCGs aim to procure a single acute contract, HSJ understands they do not necessarily aim to have a single acute provider.

The papers also revealed that the Black Country STP has agreed that mental health services across the region should be “harmonised, designed and commissioned as one service”.

There are currently two main providers of mental health services in the patch: Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership Trust and the Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust. There are four acute providers: Royal Wolverhampton Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, Dudley Group FT and Walsall Healthcare Trust.

HSJ understands that the Black Country Partnership FT plans to merge with Birmingham Community FT in the near future, after Tracy Taylor became chief executive of both trusts last year.

Walsall Healthcare, Dudley Group and Sandwell and West Birmingham are already partners in the Black Country Alliance – a joint venture partnership formed in 2015.

Dudley CCG is currently in the process of creating a multispecialty community provider, while the Royal Wolverhampton Trust is running a vertical integration programme with four GP providers.