Management failures leave Altrincham £24m health hub mothballed

Artist's impression of the hub
Image caption The hub was proposed as a space for GP surgeries and NHS services to rent

A new £24m health hub is yet to open to patients five months after it was built due to a catalogue of failings by health bosses, a review has found.

Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre was hailed as a major new facility for the area in Greater Manchester.

But a report found failure to ensure contracts were agreed with tenants and poor management undermined the project.

Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (TCCG) apologised but said previous managers were responsible.

The Market Street building, completed in October last year, is costing the NHS around £2.35m a year even though it remains empty, apart from a library.

GP practices and other NHS services were unwilling to move in after becoming concerned about high overheads at the building, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The centre is near Altrincham market

The report, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP), found the "current situation was avoidable".

It said there had been weak financial analysis, a "consistent failure" to scrutinise the project and "poor management", which led to "a completely inappropriate balance of risk and reward".

The 20-page report found "repeated failures" in TCCG's governance "from inception of the programme through to July 2018".

It said the governing body had "collectively failed to assess" that the commercial case was "unfavourable".

'Wasted asset'

Crucially, there was "little evidence of proactive efforts to secure tenants", the report said.

Jon Rouse, chief officer for GMHSCP, described the empty centre as a "wasted asset" and said the focus is now to "rectify the situation" and "secure tenants".

New plans have since been mooted to convert the building's top floor into office space, but this would have an estimated further cost of £1.5m.

Martyn Pritchard, of the TCCG, said issues with "governance and leadership in the past" had been addressed and they were still hopeful the building would eventually be used for health and social care services.

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