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Hospital boss stripped of pay off after ninety superbug deaths

PUBLISHED: 16:27 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2010

NO PAY OFF: Rose Gibb.

NO PAY OFF: Rose Gibb.

A FORMER chief executive of a hospital where 90 people died from superbug C-difficile has lost a £175,000 compensation claim. Rose Gibb, former operations director at Bromley Hospitals Trust, was suing Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for breach

A FORMER chief executive of a hospital where 90 people died from superbug C-difficile has lost a £175,000 compensation claim.

Rose Gibb, former operations director at Bromley Hospitals Trust, was suing Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust for breach of contract after it backed out of paying part of her severance package.

But a judge at the High Court quashed her claim on Tuesday and ordered her to pay costs, of which the Trust's alone are predicted to be around £90,000. She was also refused permission to appeal.

Current chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Glenn Douglas said: "This high profile case has been the cause of anxiety for many people and I hope this brings some comfort to them. It is the right decision.

"We would again like to publicly apologise for what happened during the C-difficile outbreaks that occurred while Ms Gibb was chief executive of the Trust.

"Under new management and with new procedures and strict infection control measures we have subsequently achieved some of the lowest infection rates in the country. Our priority is, and will continue to be, to provide safe, high quality care for our patients."

Gibb, who formerly lived in a £700,000 home in Sole Street, Cobham, resigned just five days before a damning report slammed the hygiene levels at the Trust which had contributed to Britain's worst ever superbug outbreak.

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 Her compensation of £175,000 was withdrawn but she did eventually receive £75,000 which was notice pay.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Treacy 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.

The 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.

While working at Bromley Hospitals Trust, an internal report found in March 2001 that the standards of cleanliness were "poor".

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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