Suffolk: Ambulance chief Anthony Marsh claimed on expenses almost £5,000 for stays at luxury hotels

East of England Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams East of England Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. Photo: Steve Adams

Friday, August 29, 2014
1:44 PM

East Anglia’s under-fire ambulance service boss faced fresh criticism last night after it emerged he claimed almost £5,000 in expenses for hotels this year.

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Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich.Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich.

Anthony Marsh, chief executive of both the East of England and West Midlands ambulance, submitted claims worth up to £188 a night for luxury overnight accommodation.

It comes just weeks after his £232,000 salary was condemned as “obscene” by health minister and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter.

Mr Marsh took on the part-time role as head of the troubled East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) in January.

He works three days a week for the EEAS and two days a week for the West Midlands Ambulance Service, in a combined role which increased his salary by £50,000.

Figures unveiled under Freedom of Information laws showed that Mr Marsh’s hotel bill was £4,839.72 from January 1 to August 20 this year.

There were 39 separate claims, covering 50 nights.

The cheapest was £70. However, it cost the taxpayer £188 for Mr Marsh to spend a night at the luxury Hotel du Vin & Bistro in Cambridge city centre on May 18. Less than two miles away is a Travelodge, offering rooms from £73 a night. Mr Marsh also claimed £99 for staying at the Mercure Norwich Hotel. A nearby Premier Inn offers rooms at £39.

He also stayed at the Belstead Brook in Ipswich for £85.36. Rooms at the new Premier Inn at Ipswich’s Waterfront start at £29.

It was confirmed earlier this month that Mr Marsh uses a taxi to take him from his west Midlands home to the ambulance headquarters in Cambridgeshire, with the weekly £400 fare paid on expenses.

Yesterday Dia Chakravarty, political director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “There’s no excuse for anyone to be running up these obscene expenses, let alone someone on more than £230,000 a year.

“Taxpayers will be furious that their money is being used for luxury hotels and chauffeur-driven cars, rather than being spent on front-line healthcare.

“He should be forced to justify every one of these unnecessarily expensive car rides and hotel stays or pay the money back.”

But a spokesman for the EEAS said: “Mr Marsh is currently running two ambulance trusts; he does not receive the salary of two chief executives saving the taxpayer approximately £130,000. By comparison, within the same two areas, there are 11 chief fire officers and 10 chief constables.

“Like every ambulance chief executive, Mr Marsh spends time in London meeting MPs, stakeholders, health officials and working on national projects. As he is representing two ambulance services, this work is being delivered more effectively and efficiently for the taxpayer.

“Mr Marsh works several days a week in the east of England.

“It would not make sense to have him travel down on a daily basis and therefore requires accommodation.

“This is governed by NHS guidelines and the lowest accommodation cost is always sought. Mr Marsh is often driven between the West Midlands and East of England.

“This allows him to continue working throughout the journey once again bringing value for the taxpayer.”

8 comments

  • 50 nights at an average of less than £100 a night ...not unreasonable in my book. Taxi from east Anglia to Birmingham seems a bit much .. You can work on a train..but their reliability and short notice prices are a bit steep .

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    ChelmaCommuta

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Agree that many people are being paid obscene wages... from football staff to TV 'celebs' (???) to Public Servants. I think Thatcher started it with her 'grab all you can' philosophy. On a lesser point, why is it that many new hotels opened in Ipswich recently BUT prices seem higher than ever?

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    Johnthebap

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • How can anyone do two top jobs while living out of a suitcase? Interviewers' question number one has to be have you got somewhere to live while doing these jobs. Neither employer wants him to come in exhausted by either job.

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    Blackeye

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • The cheap rates being quoted here are advance booking, no cancellation etc. If he ended up not staying somewhere but still paying you'd have a go about that as well. The rates he's paying are entirely reasonable. The only one I'd deem as a bit too expensive is the Hotel du Vin one, and from what I can see here, I'd assume that was all that was available at the time it was booked. You need to change the record Ipswich Star...!

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    Erm, Why?

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • another take all you can public worker,he cannot be at his job much with all that travel and hotel time,Get somebody in who will work for far less money and use video calls!!!

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    tonyb

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • I totally agree with earlier comments. I have used both Premier Inn and Travelodges a lot over the last couple of years and know only too well that you have book upto 3 months ahead to get the lower prices with either company. I also have the benefit of insider knowledge of what days of the week are going to be cheaper than others. This Sunday night, I am staying in a Premier inn having booked it 3 months ago and I have got that for £39 - not including breakfast. If I had left it until booking it this week, it would certainly be in excess of £89. Ok, he gets a few nights in "posher" hotels but who likes living in hotels, out of a suitcase?

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • What have you got against this guy - his expenses seem reasonable to be frank. You say "He also stayed at the Belstead Brook in Ipswich for £85.36. Rooms at the new Premier Inn at Ipswich’s Waterfront start at £29." Actually...a quick internet search today shows single b&b rooms Mid Week (next Wednesday) At the Belstead are £60.00 and at the Premier Inn £81.00 !!!!!!

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    Ipswich Man

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Not defending his spending but rather sensationalist about premier inns being £29 - i just check the waterfront for next Tuesday and its £80 bed only or £91.75 including breakfast. £29 is for sunday nights and checking this sunday its £59 for the cheapest room.

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    jakeb

    Friday, August 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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