Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust’s attempt to avoid abolition has been dealt a blow after the consortium it joined to bid for a £800m older people’s services contract withdrew from the process.

The bid by the Capita led consortium, which also included the NHS trust and private health firm Circle, was withdrawn after Capita raised “affordability” concerns over the high-profile deal.

An internal email, seen by HSJ, sent to Cambridgeshire Community Services staff, said: “Having reviewed key data particularly with respect to affordability, [Capita – as the lead partner] has withdrawn from the tender process to provide adult and older people’s services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“Therefore the consortium between the trust, Capita, Circle and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will withdraw from the procurement process.”

An official trust statement added: “The board will now explore the options before deciding the best way forward.

“Our accountable body, the Trust Development Authority, has previously affirmed that the trust is a viable organisation and able to bid for all procurements in line with its service strategy and will be in existence until at least March 2015. This remains the case.”

The news follows Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group announcing in September the 10 bidders passed the first stage of a contest to provide integrated older people’s services worth up to £800m.

Outsourcing giant Serco, private healthcare provider Virgin Care, and UnitedHealth UK, a subsidiary of the US-based health and wellbeing company were all among the bidders.

HSJ exclusively revealed Cambridgeshire had teamed up with the private sector in August in an innovative joint bid for the high-profile contract.

The bid appeared to mark a significant change in fortunes for the embattled trust which was removed from the foundation trust pipeline in October 2012 by the former Midlands and East Strategic Health Authority. 

With it being policy at the time that there could be no non-FT trusts, this effectively signaled the trust’s abolition, although this policy has now been modified.