TV Cheryl's delight as superbug boss loses compo bid
PUBLISHED: 16:50 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 23 August 2010
CHERYL Baker has praised a decision to deny the former head of a health trust £175,000 in compensation as a victory for justice after 90 people died from superbug C-difficile, writes Martin Sawden. The Bucks Fizz singing star, from Ightham, gave an emo
CHERYL Baker has praised a decision to deny the former head of a health trust £175,000 in compensation as a "victory for justice" after 90 people died from superbug C-difficile, writes Martin Sawden.
The Bucks Fizz singing star, from Ightham, gave an emotional reaction to a High Court decision on Tuesday quashing a severance pay claim made by former head of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Rose Gibb.
Ms Gibb, formerly of Sole Street, Cobham, resigned in 2007 just five days before a damning Healthcare Commission report highlighted nearly 1,200 cases of C-difficile at the three Kent hospitals run by the Trust over two-and-half-years.
Out of those, 345 of the patients died including 90 in which the bug was the probable or definite cause of death, Britain's worst superbug outbreak.
Mrs Baker's mother-in-law Doreen Stroud was among the victims.
She said: "Doreen died of an infection she contracted in hospital and now Harry, my father-in-law has lost his life partner.
"I don't know how Rose Gibb has the gall to take this to court, it makes me so angry. She should have been the one in court over her culpability.
"It makes me smile to think she will have to pay thousands in court costs. It won't bring our Doreen back nor all those relatives of other people who died.
"This was the right decision, a victory for justice and I'm sure the majority of people affected will agree."
Mrs Baker slammed her handling of the Trust and said: "After Doreen died we got a letter saying 24-hour cleaning was being implemented.
"Why wasn't it there in the first place? There was an outbreak before, Gibb knew.
"Too often it is about what saves the most money, that is the priority. We deserve better from our NHS, our elderly deserve better care."
Her husband Steve Stroud said his father was "robbed" of years with partner Doreen and added: "I don't think relatives will ever get over what happened but, for once, I think justice has prevailed." Mr Justice Treacy, in his judgment said the Trust had acted outside its powers and had been "irrationally generous" to Gibb in deciding to pay her much more than it was legally obliged to.
He said the non-executives at the Trust were "personally reluctant to see Ms Gibb depart, notwithstanding the findings of the HCC report" and that their personal views of wanting to be generous to Ms Gibb had led to them being biased.
Standards of infection control at the trust are now among the best in the country.
Gibb formerly lived in a £700,000 home in Sole Street, Cobham, but moved after the scandal attracted national attention.
There was public outcry when her £250,000 pay-off deal was revealed in October 2007 and led the Department of Health to immediately block it. Her compensation of £175,000 was withdrawn but she received £75,000 notice pay.