A merger to create the NHS’s largest trust providing both physical community health services and mental health services has been approved by NHS Improvement.

The merger of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust has been given the green light by NHS Improvement, and went live on Friday.

The new organisation, which will also be providing adult social care services in Staffordshire, is called the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust. Its annual turnover will be more than £500m.

In a statement, chief executive Neil Carr said:  “This is a hugely exciting day for health and social care in this area as we take this momentous step on the journey to creating fully integrated pathways of care for the communities we serve.

“Research shows that if you have a long-term health condition you are more likely to suffer from poor mental health as well. By integrating physical and mental health, as well as social care, we can deliver a much more streamlined journey for our patients and achieve better outcomes.

“MPFT brings together the considerable expertise, exceptional care and excellent practice delivered by the teams at SSSFT and SSOTP for their patients and service users every day, to create one new organisation – truly we are ‘better together’.”

An original target merger date of 1 April was missed when NHS Improvement asked for more time.