Celebrity condemns pay out for hospital superbug death boss
PUBLISHED: 11:28 01 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 23 August 2010
CELEBRITY Cheryl Baker has vowed to fight for changes in the law after top judges awarded the former boss of an NHS Trust where 90 people died from C. Difficile a payoff of almost £200,000. The Bucks Fizz singer, whose mother-in-law Doreen Ford was one of
CELEBRITY Cheryl Baker has vowed to fight for changes in the law after top judges awarded the former boss of an NHS Trust where 90 people died from C. Difficile a payoff of almost £200,000.
The Bucks Fizz singer, whose mother-in-law Doreen Ford was one of the victims of the superbug outbreak at Maidstone Hospital, says she is "horrified" Rose Gibb, the former chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust, was awarded the compensation at the Court of Appeal.
Top judges criticised the trust and central government for placing sole responsibility for the outbreak on the chief executive's head and ruled blocking her payout was unlawful.
Ms Gibb, formerly of Sole Street, Cobham, left her Maidstone post just days before a Healthcare Commission report showed the Trust was responsible for up to 90 deaths caused by C.Difficle.
Ms Baker's mother-in-law died in October 2006 after she was admitted to hospital for cancer treatment.
The 56-year-old, who is patron of the Darent Valley Hopital Lollipop Appeal which raises money to fund a children's dependency unit, vowed to contact other families of victims to prevent another repeat of the ruling in the future.
She fumed: "How can you reward someone who was at the head of this disaster? She has to take responsibility for what happened. She can't say she was made a scapegoat, but if you are in charge and paid handsomely to take responsibility then you have to take the blame.
"But following the letter of the law they had to award her the payout. You have to look at the bigger picture and in this respect the law needs changing."
Ms Gibb was in line to receive £250,000 compensation as she left her job, but £175,000 was withheld by the Department of Health as details of dirty overcrowded wards became public. After a lengthy legal battle, judges ordered the Trust pay her a further £190,284 last week.
Ms Baker, from Ightham, Sevenoaks, added: "How about all the families who have suffered and the people who have died? She has received more than all of them put together.
"Doreen wasn't just my mother-in-law, she lived with us and was a major part of my family, my life. With her death my father-in-law (Harry Stroud) lost her pension which was £500 a month so even beyond the emotional side he was left financially crippled.
"You have to take it further. We're certainly not going to get any of the money off her now but we have to ensure that this doesn't happen again."
Union Managers in Partnership, backed Ms Gibb during the proceedings and explained why the decision on Thursday June 24 was correct.
Chief executive John Restell said: "Rose and the union are not celebrating the outcome of the appeal, because there are no winners. This case should never have come to court. It only did so because the NHS handled things so incompetently.
"Rose never shunned her responsibilities and she left the Trust against her wishes. She would have remained in post to answer public concerns personally.
"She would have been able to inform and explain matters to the public in an open way. There would have been no need for a compensation payment.