The chief executive of a mental health trust in the West Midlands has quashed rumours that her organisation plans to merge with major community and mental health providers.
In a message posted on the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust website, Caroline Donovan said the suggestion of a merger was wrong and instead the trust was focused on integrating services locally.
There had been rumours that the trust – a small mental health provider in the north Staffordshire area – could merge with the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.
This sparked opposition from GPs in Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire, who said last month they would not support such a plan and instead wanted to see a multispecialty community provider created for the area.
While the North Staffordshire trust has ruled itself out of a merger, the other two trusts could still look to join. The chief executive of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Trust stepped into the role at the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership after executive Stuart Poynor left for a role at NHS England.
Ms Donovon said: “Chair David Rogers and I attended a meeting of chairs, chief executives and GP leaders across north Staffordshire one evening this week. We wanted to talk some more about our plans for integrating services more across North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent through our alliance board. It was a really positive meeting with a unanimous commitment to wrapping our teams around primary care.
“You may also have read or heard recent rumours of [the trust] merging with Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare FT as those organisations start to work more closely together.
“We all discussed and agreed that this would not be happening as [North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust] are absolutely committed to the integration of services across north Staffordshire. The next steps for us will be building on the conversations we have had across the trust about strengthening geographical working.”
Chief executive blog