HEALTH bosses have launched a review into Trafford's new £24m health hub due to concerns over its future use.

It has been revealed that the state-of-the-art facility in Altrincham could be converted into offices, without ever opening to patients.

Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre, which had been hailed as the major new health facility for south Trafford, should have provided patients with a range of services, including a minor surgery suite.

However, NHS services say they cannot afford to move in with the Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (TCCG) tabling a report last week which revealed concerns about overheads and rental costs.

The Greater Manchester Health and Care Partnership says it will investigate the circumstances behind the centre’s development and bosses hope the building can maintain a ‘health and care focus’.

Chief officer Jon Rouse said the independent review is expected to conclude before the end of the year. 

He said: “Concerns about the building were raised earlier in the year – and following discussions with TCCG it became clear that there was a lack of clarity on its use.

“This was clearly a concern so late in the development process – and in such a challenging financial environment.

“Therefore, the partnership has commissioned an independent review to examine how this came about.”

Mr Rouse said he was working closely with health and council officers to establish options for the use of the building.

“Our preference would be that this has a health and care focus,” he added.

A string of tenants, including St John’s medical centre, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS trust, Pennine Community Services and Barrington medical centre, were lined up to move in the Market Street building, completed just a few weeks ago.

However, St John’s now say the move would cost its practice an additional £70,000 a year, while Pennine said it was looking at £500,000 in extra overheads and Greater Manchester mental health trust £375,000.

NHS bosses then said they were unable to afford the relocation costs after the trust said it was ‘no longer in a position to commit to previous assurances given to providers regarding cost neutrality’.

To make use of the site, TCCG then said its ‘preferred option’ would be to convert the building from medical use into commercial office space – costing another £7m.

However, Anthony Hassall, interim accountable officer for TCCG, said the building may not become office space as ‘all options’ will be considered.

Speaking during at Tuesday’s governing body meeting Mr Hassall also said TCCG was ‘committed’ to delivering value for money.

“Our priority is to provide high quality health services for the people of Trafford while delivering value of money,” he added.

“The CCG is currently facing very significant financial challenges – and as a new leadership team we are considering all options available for the use of the health centre.”

He added: “No decisions have been made yet.

“However, a project board will oversee the review which includes partners in Trafford, NHS Property Services, NHS England and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.”

He continued: “I have also invited Trafford Healthwatch to support us as we engage with local people on what options could emerge.

“We will report progress through our governing body and through regular engagement with all our key stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, the only organisation now due to open in the centre is non-medical – as Altrincham Library plans to relocate from its Stamford New Road site in December.