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Why are people paid when things go wrong?

Rose Gibb, the former chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, rightly resigned after the trust’s standards fell so low that an outbreak of Clostridium difficile claimed the lives of 90 patients.

Ms Gibb was offered a substantial sum – reported to be half of her £150,000 salary – which the trust said was her legal entitlement.

This in itself provoked consternation, with some of the relatives of patients who died saying that she should not have been paid anything.

But now Ms Gibb claims she is entitled to her full salary and she and her union are taking legal action to get it.

Whether or not Ms Gibb is legally entitled to the money, some might see her decision as greed but I believe that there is also something more disturbing in her actions.

In seeking this money, Ms Gibb appears to be accepting no responsibility for her performance. She was the chief executive of a trust that allowed standards to fall to such an extent that patients died. Surely she should accept responsibility for this?

In November 2007 Yvonne Zanele Cemane was struck off the nursing register for six counts of misconduct, one of which involved failure to follow infection-control policy. There is no evidence that she is trying to get a year’s salary as a pay-off after her departure.

If someone is employed to do a job and it isn’t done, should they be paid for it? Of course not – so why should it be different for the chief executive of an NHS trust?

Drew Payne is a nurse trainer/auditor, Infection Control Solutions

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