Published: 13:04, 13 November 2007
HOSPITAL bosses began talks over the departure of the former chief executive of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust two months before the publication of the damning report into the outbreaks of the killer bug C-difficile.
Rose Gibb quit as chief executive on October 5, with the hospital saying she had left her job by mutual consent.
The following week, the Healthcare Commission published its critical report, which concluded the deaths of 90 patients were linked to two outbreaks of the bug.
Now the trust has disclosed it actually began talks about Ms Gibb's departure in July, although the details of any severance package appear to have been finalised only a fortnight before the announcement she was to step down.
In response to a request made by the Kent Messenger Group under the Freedom of Information Act, the trust said its remuneration committee first met at the end of July to discuss Ms Gibb's departure. It also said it had taken legal advice about the terms of that departure.
However, it refused to release any minutes or notes from that meeting or the second one held in September, which was chaired by James Lee, the trust's non-executive chairman and attended by non-executive directors.
Health secretary Alan Johnson has intervened to stop the trust awarding Ms Gibb, who was paid £150,000, a severance package reportedly worth £400,000.
On a visit to Maidstone Hospital ealier this month, he said: "The legal advice I have had clearly shows the trust did not follow due process in getting all the approvals for the severance pay."