Suffolk/Essex: Health minister’s new broadside over ambulance chief’s £232k salary

East Anglian Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh. East Anglian Ambulance Trust CEO Anthony Marsh.

Monday, August 4, 2014
10:03 AM

The £232,000 salary paid to the boss of East Anglia’s under-fire ambulance service is “obscene” and should be reviewed, health minister and Suffolk MP Dan Poulter said last night.

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He was speaking after new details emerged of expenses paid to Dr Anthony Marsh, who is chief executive of both the East of England and West Midlands ambulance services.

It has been confirmed Dr Marsh uses a taxi to take him from his west Midlands home to ambulance headquarters in Cambridgeshire, with the weekly £400 fare paid on expenses. While working there, he stays overnight in a hotel costing around £80 a night.

He also has a £9,400 car allowance as part of his role with the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Last night, the ambulance trust launched a vigorous defence of the package, saying Dr Marsh used a taxi so he could work en route “dealing with hundreds of emails”.

And it said he is leading a huge turnaround in the performance of the beleaguered service, which has repeatedly failed to hit response time targets in Suffolk.

But Dr Poulter, who is junior health minister and MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich was shocked by the figures.

He said: “Whatever they say, it’s a profligate use of taxpayers’ money.

“He is a highly skilled man and doing a very good job – but he is being paid double the money he should.”

He said that in other government bodies which shared a chief executive – like some local councils in Suffolk – a single salary was paid.

Dr Marsh’s salary and expenses package was very difficult to justify to frontline staff who often found themselves doing a very difficult job:

“From the point of view of ordinary members of staff this is something that could be very demoralising.

“It is unacceptable and quite obscene.”

And he added: “I will be writing to the chairs of both the trusts and raise the issue with my ministerial colleague Earl Howe (who is responsible for the ambulance service at the Department of Health).”

Dr Marsh’s £232,000 salary to run both ambulance trusts is higher than that of the head of the whole NHS, Simon Stevens - who is on a salary of £211,000, although he has taken a voluntary 10% pay cut in light of NHS spending pressures.

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Trust said: “Since his appointment, Dr Marsh has saved taxpayers approximately £8million of back office functions and management savings to help fund the recruitment of 400 new staff, with more than 120 already having joined the Trust, and brought in 147 brand new ambulances and more than 60 rapid response vehicles.

“The joint role does in fact save the taxpayer approximately £130,000 on the cost of a having a substantive chief executive in each ambulance trust.

“It’s ludicrous to suggest the taxpayer is getting poor value for money when taking everything into account – the organisation has turned a corner thanks to the actions Dr Marsh has put in place.”

11 comments

  • OK, Dan Poulter might not be the best person to make it but the piont is still valid. It is an obscence amount for someone in that position and is typical of the grossly overpaid and horridly underperforming people at the top of the public sector. As far as I know, Poulter did not set this man's pay rate.

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    Gobby

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

  • Poulter's bare-faced hypocrisy is staggering. His Tory Government has presided over the sale of the NHS to the private sector who only care about profit. One of the biggest contractors, Serco, paid their incoming boss an £850,000 salary. The last one left amidst a scandal with a payoff worth £9m. And Mr Poulter lectures us about the use of public money. Our tax money eventually ends up in his cronies' pockets and is the main reason the NHS is dying day by day.

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    skrich

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • @ paul.e Yes, he employs his mother at the taxpayer's expense on a salary almost double that of a normal 'office manager'. I believe he also gave her a pay rise of around £5k p.a. recently. Poulter embarrasses himself with statements like this.

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    Esco Fiasco

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Why do we need someone to do two jobs ? Is not reasonable to have our own person in charge ? If he can do this , why do we need two Chief Constables or Two Police Crime Commissioners etc ?

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    Poppys Dad

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Amsterdam81 - I would address your question directly to Dan Poulter who, I believe, may have some experience in having two jobs at once.

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    paul e.

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Is it possible to do two full time jobs or are we talking about two part time roles? Suffolk Ambulance service has not worked as well as it should for a number of years so is it improving now? What does the tax man say about claiming home to office costs on expenses? Many employees have to work away sometimes and therefore need to use hotels but if they live so far away from the place of work that they need to stay in a hotel I'm not sure too many employers would expect to pay the living costs on top of a very large salary. Seems like the tail is wagging the dog here. The problem is too many public bodies have been paying their CEOs too much for too long so that too many with the necessary no longer need to work!

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    amsterdam81

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Anyone At the top is just plain greedy,The people who do the most work for example the Health Care Assistants get the least and are less thought of.

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    David Brown

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • It seems that mp's should not complain about people getting big pay packs and till they cut there pay in line with every body. not giving them self's a pay raise.

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    Simon O'brien-ellington

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Is this the same Dan Poulter that employs a member of his family as an 'office administrator' on a salary of £40k+year because "they're worth it". Personally, for someone to answer a few e-mails, i think that's an obscene amount of money. There again, I don't disagree with the original story either!

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    paul e.

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Dan Poulter shouldnt throw stones in glass houses. What good has he actually done? Dr Poulter will too command a significant salary and a large amount from the government too, yet his constituency is not huge, and he is hardly turning around a failing business or putting his head on the block. Merely playing politics again.

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    Rory Breaker

    Monday, August 4, 2014

  • Well for a sham of a government that had NO mandate for a top down 'Privatisation' of OUR NHS !, Dr Poulter seems to be forgetting that the British Public will remember everything these sham tories have done over the last 4 years and for me an I suspect many others, May 2015 cannot come quickly enough !

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    freedomf

    Monday, August 4, 2014

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