FINANCE: Monitor is probing the financial sustainability of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust – just weeks after it took on an extra 1,400 staff as part of one of the NHS’s biggest, most complex service restructures.

The regulator said the trust was “meeting its current fiscal projections” but it “still faces longer term financial challenges”.

A statement by the watchdog said it “wants to be sure the trust is financially strong enough for patients to receive quality care in the future, particularly given the increased number of services it will be providing”.

The investigation comes with the trust in the process of implementing one of the most high profile NHS contracts in the country worth £800m. 

The trust successfully secured an £800m contract to deliver integrated older people’s services in October after a tender process run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

It won the flagship contract in a partnership bid with Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust. The trusts have set up the Uniting Care Partnership joint venture to oversee the partnership.

The mental health trust took on 1,400 staff from Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust, the previous provider of the bulk of the older people’s community services.  

The trust reported having a £0.605m deficit last month, according to its most recent finance report. It was originally forecast to deliver a £0.5m deficit for 2014-15, but submitted a revised forecast deficit of £0.7m to Monitor in December.  

Trust chief executive Aidan Thomas said: “This is a formality following our successful joint bid for older people’s healthcare and adult community services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“Monitor wants to ensure our future plans are financially sustainable and we will clearly demonstrate to Monitor – as well as our patients and stakeholders – our future financial plans are both robust and sustainable.

“This is part of Monitor’s process and is not unique to [the trust], or any other NHS foundation trust, which successfully wins contracts of this size and scale.”