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Row over C-diff scandal pay-off continues

Rose Gibb resigned in October
Rose Gibb resigned in October

CLAIMS that health secretary Alan Johnson will not prevent a pay-off to the disgraced former chief executive of Maidstone Hospital have been made in parliament.

Taking part in a debate on the Health and Social Care Bill on Thursday, Conservatives say health minister, Ben Bradshaw, refused to confirm that Rose Gibb's severance payment, rumoured to be £250,000 would be blocked.

Miss Gibb resigned from her £140,000 a year job as head of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, days before a Healthcare Commission report revealed 90 patients died, who had the C-diff superbug, between April 2004 and September 2006.

Mr Johnson has always publicly pledged his intention to block any severance pay to Miss Gibb, saying he was "appalled" at the hygiene failures, which led to the spread of the infection.

But the Conservatives also claim sources at the Department of Health admit the pledge is likely to be broken.

Conservative plans to have more screening for infections and lower bed occupancy rates were voted down by Labour members in parliament.

Shadow Health Minister Stephen O'Brien, said: "It is nothing short of disingenuous that Alan Johnson should seek to suggest to the public that Rose Gibb will not get her pay-off, when officials are now briefing that she will.

"Alan Johnson must answer for Labour's failure on hospital infection, and for the continuing fiasco over fat pay-offs for those who fail our NHS."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the matter was still under consideration by the hospitals trust.

A trust spokesman said: "We are in the process of finalising a decision based on legal advice. We will issue a statement as soon as possible."

The debate came on the day that prospective parliamentary Conservative candidates, vying to succeed Ann Widdecombe as MP for Maidstone and The Weald, took a tour of Maidstone Hospital.

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