NHS West Sussex has lately been recognised as a leading light on crossing the health and social care divide. The primary care trust’s board has just approved the creation of a joint commissioning unit with West Sussex County Council.

The unit, with around 55 full time staff, will have a budget approaching £375m to spend in 2011-12 on a variety of services, including adult mental health, children’s health services, learning disabilities and housing.

Its work, as in other pioneering PCTs – think NHS Cambridgeshire – has led to its chief executive being snapped up by the Department of Health.

John Wilderspin was last month appointed DH national transition director, where he will lead the introduction of health and wellbeing boards – new bodies already being criticised as weak before they have been created.

As might be expected, NHS West Sussex itself has signed up to become an “early implementer” of the boards and will soon have a shadow board in place.

Further integration is seen in the neighbouring county, where East Sussex Community Health Services has become part of East Sussex Hospitals Trust. The rebadged East Sussex Healthcare Trust will manage hospital and community health services led by chief executive Darren Grayson.

A press release informs us that Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust chief executive Lisa Rodrigues has been diagnosed with inflammation of the gallbladder – and is receiving treatment at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

Director of corporate services Sue Morris will serve as acting chief executive. We wish Ms Rodrigues a swift recovery.