The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the planned merger of two large acute trusts in Manchester.

Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester FT plan to merge this year, and local leaders had anticipated that the size of the deal meant it would need to be probed by the CMA.

In a statement today, the CMA said: “The Competition and Markets Authority is considering whether… the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

The merger was originally intended to be completed by the end of the current financial year, but is now being planned for September.

In a landmark decision in 2013, the CMA blocked the merger of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals FT and Poole Hospital FT.

However, as revealed by HSJ last year, the trusts have reopened merger talks, as they believe a planned reconfiguration of acute services in east Dorset “could be achieved more easily under one management structure”.