Financial regulator Monitor began an investigation on Tuesday into the financial sustainability of the Black Country Partnership Foundation Trust.
The community and mental health services FT is one of seven partners in the multispeciality community provider (MCP) vanguard headed by Dudley CCG and the borough council.
The bodies plan to build networks of GP-led multi-disciplinary teams covering a total population of 318,000 people.
The Black Country Foundation Trust recorded a larger than planned deficit, Monitor said, and expected its finances to further deteriorate.
NHS funding fears
The investigation would ‘find out more about the financial situation at the trust and to establish what can be done to improve things for those who use its services’, said Monitor regional director Marianne Loynes.
‘No decision has been taken about whether further regulatory action is required,' added Ms Loynes.
The trust said it remained committed to the MCP vanguard to improve patient care in a ‘more cost efficient way’.
A spokeswoman said: ‘The trust board and our partner organisations within the vanguard have been aware of the financial issues for some time, and this has in part led to us considering more collaborative working to ensure the continuity of our services in a financially sustainable framework.’
NHS financial sustainability
Chief executive Karen Dowman said: ‘Despite providing excellent care to our community, and having in place good standards of governance and operational performance, our financial sustainability continues to be our biggest challenge.’
‘Like many areas of the National Health Service, BCPFT is not alone in facing this challenge. We have already started a programme of activity to identify cost-savings and improve our financial sustainability, and to put in place safeguarding checks to ensure efficiencies do not compromise care.’
Dudley CCG’s chief accountable officer Paul Maubach added: ‘Monitor’s investigation into the Black Country Partnership NHS FT does not affect Dudley CCG’s new model of care or the plans for our MCP. This is partly because BCPFT’s involvement in the MCP is proportionally fairly small, but also because the new model of care is designed to deliver high quality of care within available resources – so its implementation will assist in improving the financial sustainability of the system.’