One of the borough’s health chiefs has been reprimanded by his NHS trust for “unacceptable behaviour”.
Simon Barber, the £200,000-a-year chief executive at North West Boroughs NHS Foundation Trust, has been suspended after a staff member made an undisclosed complaint about his conduct.
Trust bosses have refused to comment on the nature of the allegations concerning Mr Barber, who has been at the helm of Wigan’s mental health services provider for more than a decade.
Mental health services in Wigan have faced a number of challenges recently, with an ongoing review examining why patient numbers for the borough outstrip those of neighbouring Warrington, St Helens and Halton.
Helen Bellairs, the trust’s chairman, said in a statement: ““An allegation has been made by a member of staff against our chief executive, Simon Barber, relating to unacceptable behaviour.
“An independent investigation has been carried out, and has now concluded.
“In line with our trust policies for all staff, appropriate sanctions have been applied.
“Simon will be returning to work on Monday.”
She added: “In line with our HR policies, we are not able to discuss personal privacy matters relating to an individual member of staff.
“I am confident we have followed a robust process involving an independent investigation. The investigation report has been considered and acted upon by me with the support of non-executive colleagues, and the appropriate sanctions have been applied.
"Simon was absent from work for the duration of the investigation which took place in accordance with Trust policies and lasted around seven weeks.
“We will not be commenting further on this matter.”
Mr Barber, a former chairman of the North West Mental Health Chief Executives’ Group and patron of several mental health charities, has apologised for his actions.
The father-of-two said: “I have made a mistake and in doing so I have let myself and the trust down.
“I have apologised and I am determined that this unacceptable behaviour will not happen again.”
The trust provides a number of mental health and learning disability services for the borough and is responsible for running the new Atherleigh Park Hospital in Leigh.
And the salary for its chief executive has risen from the £180,000 to £185,000 bracket in 2016-17 to £200,000 to £205,000 for the latest available period, before pension and performance-related pay are taken into account.
Before his North West Boroughs tenure Mr Barber, a qualified chartered accountant, was employed by The Christie, in Manchester, Salford Primary Care Trust and he was the turnaround director for Cheshire West Primary Care Trust.