Embattled Sheffield health body at centre of bullying row appoints new interim chief officer

A Sheffield health body at the centre of claims of bullying, harassment and favouritism has appointed a new interim chief officer as it struggles to contain the fallout from a critical NHS England investigation.

By Dan Hayes
Friday, 14 June, 2019, 12:57

Lesley Smith, the current accountable officer at Barnsley clinical commissioning group (CCG), has been appointed as interim accountable officer at Sheffield CCG, but will continue in both roles, the organisation said.

Sheffield CCG’s senior leadership team has been embattled since the Star revealed in February medical director Dr Zak McMurray has been on special leave on full pay for more than a year.

Lesley Smith, Sheffield CCG's new interim accountable officer.

Earlier this month, the their previous accountable officer Maddy Ruff resigned just months after health bosses insisted she would be staying in her role.

And just days ago it was announced that CCG chair Dr Tim Moorhead would also leave his role in September.

An independent NHS England investigation published earlier this year found evidence of poor behaviour by senior leaders and a breakdown in relationships at the top of the organisation.

It also said the body’s handling of bullying and harassment cases was unsatisfactory and the CCG lacked a clear strategy.

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Maddy Ruff, former accountable officer for the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group. Picture: Chrs Etchells.

The investigation had been called for by Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts who said he had never heard so many complaints about one organisation in his time as a public servant.

Brian Hughes, deputy accountable officer at Sheffield CCG, said: “I’m pleased to announce Lesley Smith has been appointed as Sheffield CCG’s interim accountable officer.

“Lesley is currently accountable officer for NHS Barnsley CCG and she will continue in her role there as well as work with Sheffield.”

Sheffield CCG - which decides where health money is spent in the city - is one of the biggest clinical commissioning groups in the country and has a budget of around £800m a year.

As well as being accountable officer for Barnsley CCG, Lesley Smith was also deputy system lead for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, though will soon leave that role.

Ms Smith – who lives in Leeds and is married with a son and daughter – is an accountant by profession and previously worked at KPMG consulting.