Altrincham’s ward councillor has slammed the “absolutely shocking” mistakes highlighted in today’s report into the Health and Wellbeing Centre fiasco that she said amounted to a “tragic waste of NHS money”.
The report, published this morning, has identified a catalogue of failings and bad management that led to a “completely inappropriate balance of risk and reward” in the conception and delivery of the 88,000 sq ft building.
It paints a damning picture of a series of failures dating back to September 2014, when the idea for the centre was first conceived, and that it was a “poorly conceived programme with poor commercial outcomes for the CCG and should not have been progressed without fundamental questions being asked and resolved”.
And Geraldine Coggins, Green Party Councillor for Altrincham and Leader of the Green Party group on Trafford Council, said: “The long-awaited report is out and it is a story of incompetence, poor management and lack of judgement. This is a tragic waste of NHS money at a time when our health services desperately need more funds. The string of bad decisions made about this expensive building is absolutely shocking.
“We will be watching closely to see that the recommendations of the report are carried out, so that these mistakes cannot happen again. For now, we are keen to see the building, at this key location in Altrincham in use as soon as possible, so that tax payers are no longer paying rent on an empty building.”
Meanwhile Martyn Pritchard, Accountable Officer for Trafford CCG, said the CCG had already started to address the governance and leadership issues identified in the report.
He said: “The Governing Body has agreed a new constitution and is reviewing all its governance arrangements. A Programme Board has been created to work with partners to ensure the best use of the building.
“The report also recognises the CCG is under new leadership at executive and Board level and as Accountable Officer I want to assure everyone that I will make sure we learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure something like this will doesn’t happen again.
“My job now is to make sure we use all the money we have to fund the NHS in Trafford as best we can to provide the care and treatment that local people need.”
He also confirmed that the top floor of the building would now be made available for commercial rent, the preferred option of five considered by the CCG at a meeting yesterday. The conversion will cost £1.5m.
He added: “The report found the decision making was flawed from the outset so the Governing Body has agreed to rent the top floor for commercial use which will provide the best financial return for the NHS.
“We are making progress on ensuring the rest of the building is used mainly for health and social care services. Negotiations are continuing with relevant parties and I am confident that we will be a in a position to announce tenants soon.
“Once in use, I believe this building will provide an excellent opportunity to improve the lives of people in Trafford in a purpose built modern healthcare facility.”