A BOLTON health boss is retiring after leading the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the borough for the past nine years.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani has served as Bolton CCG’s chairman since the organisation was formed.

It is responsible for commissioning hospital and community NHS services for Bolton residents and replaced the former primary care trust.

Many residents will have been patients of Dr Bhantiani as he served as a GP for over 40 years and was a senior partner at St Peter’s House Surgery Westhoughton before retiring two years ago.

Dr Bhatiani said: “The important thing for me was to bring my experience from the consulting room and the surgery to help in the commissioning of health services for the people of Bolton.

“That knowledge of patients’ experiences of health care has been key and has helped me enormously.

“We have been very successful in improving the health and care experiences of people in Bolton and I am proud that the CCG has been rated as ‘outstanding’ for the last two years.

“I am also very proud of the work that we have done with our partners in Bolton, our hospital, the voluntary sector and the council, to make the best use of our resources. Covid has shown us just how important this is.

“The past year has been extremely challenging but everyone in the borough has worked immensely hard to deal with the pandemic and its aftermath.

“I also want to thank everyone who has been involved, both staff and volunteers, in our extremely successful Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

Dr Bhantiani is looking forward to being able to spend more time with his grandchildren in his retirement and playing the saxophone.

He added: “I am immensely grateful for the support I have received over the past nine years from the partners at my surgery, my colleagues at the CCG, our partner organisations and my wife, Nita, and my family.”

Dr Niruban Ratnarajah will take over as CCG chairman on April 1. He trained as a GP in Bolton and is a partner at Stonehill Medical Centre, Farnworth.

The father-of-four, who is married to a GP, has worked in Bolton since 2007. He is also CCG clinical lead in the area of prescribing and a GP board member.

He said: “I would like to thank Wirin for his years of service. I am looking forward to the challenges ahead as we recover from Covid and face changes to health and social care.”