Regulators have given the go-ahead to the merging of two NHS trusts in the Midlands, in order to create one of the largest integrated community health and social care providers in England.
South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) and Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP) have come together to become Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT).
The primary focus of the partnership will be to bring about better care coordination by establishing a single care plan for patients that covers physical health, mental health and social care needs, MPFT said.
Neil Carr, chief executive of MPFT, 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.
Both SSSFT and SSTOP use the Servelec RiO electronic patient record system.
MPFT will bring together some 8,500 staff from its two founding trusts to serve a population of approximately 1.1 million people in Staffordshire and Shropshire.
The new trust said that the merger would not create any disruption to patients or the services they received, and claimed that no front line staff would be affected by the merger.
Martin Gower, chairman of MPFT and previously chair of South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes to bring us to this point and we have already seen the benefits integration can bring with the two organisations working together in partnership over the last 12 months.
“Although we now offer a wider array of services and specialties as one organisation, MPFT is only one part of the wider health and social care system in Shropshire, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, so we look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners across the area to produce the best possible outcomes for our communities.”