Monitor has launched investigations into both Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals and Norfolk and Suffolk foundation trusts, it has been announced.

The investigation into Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals follows the trust missing a number of key national waiting time targets for accident and emergency, cancer care and ensuring most patients wait less than 18 weeks for operations.

Norfolk and Suffolk meanwhile reported an unplanned financial deficit of £1.7m and the watchdog said a recent external review has identified concerns about the way the trust is run.

Monitor said it does not believe the issues at the two trusts are related to each other, despite their overlapping catchment areas.

As HSJ exclusively revealed last week, Norfolk and Suffolk paid out £8.8m in redundancy payments and other exit packages in 2013-14 - eight times its previous year’s severance bill but only slightly more than the £8.2m it paid out in 2011-12.

The payouts make up almost one tenth of the £92.4m spend on severance packages across the entire foundation trust sector last year.

Laura Mills, deputy regional director at Monitor, said:  “Some patients are waiting too long for treatment at Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals and this has given Monitor cause for concern.

“Our investigation will establish what further action, if any, is needed to improve services for patients.

She added: “We are taking a closer look at Norfolk & Suffolk to understand the way the board works and why the trust is making such a big loss.

“The aim of the investigation is to get to the bottom of these issues and to understand whether or not we need to step in.”

The watchdog said no decision has yet been made on whether further regulatory action will be taken at either trust.