Sheffield health chief resigns amid claims of bullying, favouritism and harassment at ‘toxic’ organisation

A senior Sheffield health service manager has resigned just months after the organisation insisted she would be remaining in her role.

Saturday, 25th May 2019, 15:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th May 2019, 17:07 pm
Maddy Ruff, accountable officer for the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, will leave her role of June 9. Picture: Chrs Etchells.

The Health Service Journal reported on Friday that Maddy Ruff, the accountable officer for Sheffield’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), would leave her post on June 9.

Ms Ruff’s position had been rumoured to be under threat earlier this year after the CCG was accused of having a ‘toxic’ culture by former staff.

Maddy Ruff, accountable officer for the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, will leave her role of June 9. Picture: Chrs Etchells.

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But CCG chair, Dr Tim Moorhead, insisted in March Ms Ruff was ‘not resigning nor retiring’ and would be remaining as their chief officer.

On Friday, however, the CCG confirmed to the Health Service Journal that Ms Ruff would be leaving to join an as yet unspecified role with the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership.

Sheffield CCG – which decides where health money is spent in the city – is one of the biggest in the country and has an annual budget of £800m.

Its senior leadership 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.

Claims of bullying, favouritism and harassment led to the body being subject to an independent NHS England review, which was critical of the organisation’s executive team.

After the report was published in March, the CCG’s board agreed to produce an ‘improvement plan’ to address the criticisms it had identified.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, who was one of those who had called for an independent review, said multiple concerns about the way the CCG had been operating had been being raised with him and a number of his colleagues.

These included Dr McMurray’s suspension as well as the CCG’s management culture, the atmosphere working there, favouritism and conflicts around appointments.

“More than a dozen senior people within the CCG, people in the Council and other organisations came to us and expressed a whole range of issues,” he said in February.

“We asked for the review because concerns had been raised by so many people which clearly indicated that something needed putting right.

“I have never experienced as an MP so many people coming to see saying things are not working properly.”

A CCG spokeswoman told the Health Service Journal on Friday that an interim accountable officer would be appointed, with the process to recruit one due to get underway shortly.

Brian Hughes, the current deputy accountable officer, would ‘provide leadership’ until the post was filled, she added.