HEALTH bosses plan to overhaul leadership and governance in the wake of the failed £24m Altrincham medical centre which hasn’t treated a single patient.

The action is in response to the findings of an investigation which uncovered a series of ‘catastrophic’ failings by executives at Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (TCCG).

In March, a review found that in 2014/15 decisions made by health chiefs in relation to the centre were ‘badly flawed’.

In addition, there was ‘no evidence’ of a detailed review of the building’s full business case, which was only 80 per cent complete when submitted to the CCG’s governing body.

There were, and continue to be, a number of ‘close professional relationships’ between former CCG employees, Citybranch executives, and a council officer, a report read.

Citybranch was the development firm tasked with revamping the building.

In response, Martyn Pritchard, the CCG’s accountable officer has set out a number of actions required to review the organisation’s governance in a bid to ‘learn lessons’.

The report read: “An underlying issue uncovered in the review was that the governing body did not exercise appropriate governance during the key decision-making processes.

“Subsequently, the CCG embarked on a three-stage review of its governance.

“Phase one, which is now complete, was the revision of the constitution and recruitment of new members.

“Phase two, which is ongoing, is the review of all aspects of sub-committees, while phase three will include a review of all policies and procedures.”

“The task and finish group believed that the right actions are in place to ensure appropriate governance,” added the report.

The document listed nine recommendations:  

Business cases contain all the information expected under industry standards.

The governing body should be explicit as to the governance process, particularly in relation to frequency, content and updates it receives.

Actions resulting from meetings are clearly documented and traceable.

Professional advice to be sought in all areas where it does not have the collective skills and experience to challenge and support management.

The CCG must ensure governance processes are in place for the health hub and ensure remaining discussions are understood and managed appropriately.

Health bosses should continue to explore ways of decreasing the financial impact of the health hub through identifying tenants.

The CCG and NHS Property Services review their contracts with Citybranch to ensure that there were no limitations on employing former CCG employees.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership oversee future decisions taken in relation to the hub.

The CCG reviews its policy for allocating capital and revenue funding to GP practices and ensure the criteria for prioritising competing demands are transparent.

During its construction, the Market Street health hub was hailed as a major facility for south Trafford- and should have provided patients with a range of services, including a minor surgery suite.

However, the various NHS services earmarked to move into the building last year were unwilling to go ahead because they became concerned about high overheads.

At the time, it was understood that St John’s medical centre, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust, Pennine Community Services and Barrington medical centre, were lined up to rent space in the Market Street building.

However, it became apparent they couldn’t afford to rent the space – which is still costing the NHS around £2.35m a year even though the building remains empty apart from a library.

Health chief Jon Rouse responded to the failures by labelling the state of the empty medical centre as a ‘wasted asset’.

“We must learn from what went wrong to make sure this is not happening anywhere else now, and cannot happen again,” he said.

He also said there has been a change to NHS governance procedures in the wake of the situation.

“I’ve asked all NHS organisations in Greater Manchester to reflect on their decision-making and ensure they are always acting fully in the public interest,” he added.

“There is no doubt that this is a serious situation.

“The governing body at the time failed to handle an avoidable situation – the report concludes they could, and should, have scrutinised this far more effectively.

“Trafford CCG is now under new and stable leadership at board and executive level – and has our full support as they seek to make the most of what I hope will become a real asset for Altrincham.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to generate income, the CCG recently agreed to spend between two to three million pounds turning part of the building into office space.