• Sheffield CCG medical director returns to work after more than 18 months on “special leave”
  • CCG is currently working on improvement plan intended to address concerns over leadership and culture
  • CCG spent an estimated £165,000 on whistleblower’s “special leave”

Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s medical director, who was at the centre of a bullying and whistleblowing row, has returned to work after more than 18 months on “special leave”.

Zak McMurray, who is a GP in the city, had been on “special leave” with full pay since February 2018 after he raised a whistleblowing concern against the CCG’s former accountable officer Maddy Ruff.

Dr McMurray told HSJ in a statement earlier this year that his leave was not due to a disciplinary process and was not conduct or ability related.

Based on Dr McMurray’s substantive salary, the CCG will have paid an estimated £165,000 while he was on special leave.

The CCG confirmed the medical director had returned to work but declined to comment further when approached by HSJ.

The organisation is currently working on an improvement plan, which is intended to address concerns over leadership and culture following a critical independent investigation of the CCG and its governance.

The investigation identified issues of poor behaviour by senior CCG staff, as well as dissatisfaction over the handling of bullying and harassment cases and a lack of a clear strategy.

The improvement plan, which was published at the CCG’s July board meeting, said sustained disagreement between directors needs “urgent resolution” and also said the CCG needs to strengthen commissioning arrangements with the local authority and review the governing body constitution.

It also called for a plan to tackle specific issues in the nursing directorate, under the leadership of the chief nurse but with a governing body sponsor.

Dr McMurray’s return to the CCG comes shortly after new CCG chair Terry Hudsen was appointed following an election involving the governing body members. Dr Hudsen replaced Tim Moorhead who left the organisation after seven years in August.

Lesley Smith, also accountable officer of Barnsley CCG, replaced Maddy Ruff in June as interim AO of Sheffield CCG.

Ms Ruff resigned earlier that month and took a job at Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, a sustainability and transformation partnership covering Humber and east and north Yorkshire.