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Axemen pocket £1,300 a day to slash health care

PUBLISHED: 11:42 12 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:19 25 August 2010

FAT CAT:  Michael Marchment.

FAT CAT: Michael Marchment.

RESIDENTS who will lose their hospital A&E department are disgusted that a nearby debt-ridden PFI hospital pays its temporary Chief Executives up to £1,300 a day.

RESIDENTS who will lose their hospital A&E department are disgusted that a nearby debt-ridden PFI hospital pays its temporary Chief Executives up to £1,300 a day.

The current interim Chief Executive for Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust, Michael Marchment, earns £1,200 a day plus expenses despite Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), Farnborough floundering in debts of more than £99 million.

Campaigners believe this debt has led to the decision by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCTs) to close the A&E, maternity unit and paediatric in-patient services at Queen Mary's Hospital (QMS), Sidcup.

The committee responsible for the cuts, A Picture of Health (APOH), have confirmed that Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford will take on most of the overflow from Sidcup when it is expected to close in 2011.

Mr Marchment, who has earned £34,800 since joining the Trust on June 13, was responsible for a further closure of three theatres at Orpington Treatment Centre in a bid to save £1 million.

Andrew Fitness, 49, of Larch Road, Dartford, said: "All he's getting paid for is getting rid of our services. I should imagine this is going to put quite a strain on Darent Valley Hospital. The waiting lists are bad enough as it is. Who do you put the blame on though? Is it his fault for accepting the salary or the NHS's fault for awarding him it in the first place? You'd expect him to be coming up with some answers for that sort of wage."

Jill Aslan, 55, from Swanley, said: "He could axe himself and he would have saved the same amount that he's saved by closing down the theatres! But first of all, why should the people of Dartford and Swanley cover for the mistakes of their hospital? I mean Darent Valley is an okay hospital at the moment, but what the hell's going to happen now?"

Ian Wilson, who was chief executive at the Trust from December 2007 to June this year was paid £1,300 a day plus expenses, meaning the salary has reduced this year by just £100. Last year, he claimed £1,200 in travel expenses alone, a Times Freedom of Information Act request has revealed. A father-of two, 66, from Sidcup, who did not want to be named, said he was gobsmacked at the size of their salaries. He said: "The NHS is floundering and they pay themselves £1,300 a day. They are just adding to the problem. It is jobs for the boys.

"It is the economics of a madhouse."

Three previous interim Chief Executives, Ian Wilson, Anthony Sumara and Ian Gibson were also eligible for expenses.

However, the Trust claimed they were unable to reveal Mr Sumara's salary as he was employed by a different Trust.

The last permanent Chief Executive was John Watkinson, who worked there from May 2003 until December 2006.

A spokesperson for Bromley hospitals refused to comment.

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