The board of Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust has voted unanimously to abandon plans to become a foundation trust and will instead seek a merger.

A paper to the board, reported by HSJ last week, advised members the organisation was unlikely to pass Monitor’s assessment process because all of its income was “subject to review” over the next two years.

The trust was formed under the transforming community services programme from Torbay Care Trust’s provider arm and community services in the south of the county, which were previously provided by NHS Devon. It became an NHS trust on 1 April 2012.

It also delivers social care on behalf of Torbay council.

In a statement following the board meeting, the trust said the board had decided against continuing with the foundation trust application.

It said did not believe continuing to seek FT status alone offered the best opportunity for “maintaining and developing good integrated care”, and questioned whether the option was even viable given the trust’s size and structure.

The trust said it would now seek a partnership with an established NHS foundation trust or another NHS trust in the application pipeline.

Chief executive Anthony Farnsworth said the decision followed hard work and deliberation “over many months”.

He said: “We have never been an organisation which is afraid of making bold decisions where there is real benefit to be gained for local communities, and this latest move shows that we remain as committed as ever to doing the right thing for patients and social care clients.

“The approach agreed will provide us with the financial security enjoyed by a larger organisation, and a solid footing from which to deliver and develop integrated care for the future. It will also enable us to remain as an NHS organisation, which we know is very important to our staff.”