Serco is poised to take over facilities management services at a mental health trust after previous provider Carillion was liquidated.

The outsourcing giant is set to take over maintenance, catering, cleaning and porter duties at the 58 bed Harplands Hospital in Stoke, run by North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust.

Carillion’s collapse affected around 70 staff at the £82m income trust. The trust hopes they will transfer to Serco by May.

A source confirmed to HSJ that Serco has approval “in principle” from the trust and its PFI provider to acquire the contract but the final transaction has not been completed.

Meetings are being held with all former Carillion employees at the trust, a Serco spokesman said.

He added: “The move is expected to happen with minimal disruption and our priority will be to maintain continuity of service for the NHS, service users and their families, and for hospital staff.”

Neither the trust nor Serco would reveal the value and length of the contract before the deal was signed.

A trust spokesman said: “We can confirm that conversations are ongoing in a very productive fashion and we anticipate they will soon be concluded to everyone’s satisfaction.”

Harplands Hospital is a £28m private finance initiative hospital with 100 per cent of the equity held by investment group Semperian.

Serco is also yet to complete a £30m deal with five other acute trusts whose facilities management services were provided by at least 1,600 Carillion staff.

Serco’s UK health business has annual revenues of £240m.

Sandwell and West Birmingham and Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals trusts remain in negotiations over finding suitable builders to finish major new privately financed hospitals.