August heralds a new era for The Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as healthcare services from Wolverhampton and Dudley officially transfer to the organisation on 1st of the month.
Mental health, addiction and learning disability services for children and adults in Wolverhampton, and learning disability services for adults and community healthcare services for children, young people and families in Dudley now join the Trust.
Learning disability services for adults in Walsall are already part of the Trust, having transferred on 1st April. The latest transfer was agreed by Monitor, the regulator of Foundation Trusts, in July.
Karen Dowman, Chief Executive of the Trust, said: "This is an exciting time for the future of all the healthcare services now encompassed by the Trust. Bringing together services across the Black Country will strengthen the way they are delivered, improve people's access to care and enable excellent practice to be shared and implemented across the Black Country.
"This will drive up standards for the benefit of all patients and the wider community."
She added that the delivery of community healthcare for children, including health visiting, school nursing and a range of therapeutic services, was a new venture for the Trust.
"We welcome this new opportunity as well as the staff transferring from Dudley to the Trust. They have a wealth of experience and expertise in delivering community services to children and we will build on this to enhance integrated services for younger people living in the Dudley borough."
Specialist learning disability services for adults also transfer from Dudley and for adults and children from Wolverhampton, joining services already provided by the Trust in Walsall and Sandwell.
"Being able to deliver learning disability services across the Black Country will undoubtedly strengthen service provision and offer opportunities to provide a better future for all people with learning disabilities," added Karen.
"In addition, as a Foundation Trust we are committed to involving members of the public in our work and listening to their views on healthcare provision. The new Black Country Partnership will enable us to tailor services to meet more local needs across a much wider community."
She emphasised that patients, their families and carers and the wider community would not notice any difference in the short-term because the same staff would see the same patients in the same locations.
"However as the organisation develops and best practice is embedded across the Trust we will work to ensure that continuous quality improvement takes place".
The transfer of services and staff from Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley has almost doubled the workforce of the Trust to 2,030.
The new developments are as a result of the Government's Transforming Community Services agenda which began in July 2010 following the publication of the revised Operating Framework for the NHS in England for 2010/11, which requires Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to transfer the provision of services to different organisations by 1st April 2011.