Ambulance deputy defends £232,000 a year boss

The under-fire £232,000-a-year chief executive of two ambulance trusts is an ‘extremely hard worker’, his deputy in the West Midlands has said, following criticisms that his salary is 'obscene'.

Kath Perry
Councillor Kath Perry

But Anthony Marsh has come under fire from councillors after missing the one opportunity a year a committee in Staffordshire had to question him.

Diane Scott, deputy chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service, defended Mr Marsh amid concerns that it was too much for one person to run both WMAS and another ambulance service in the East of England. It comes after it emerged his salary has been increased by £50,000.

See also: West Midlands Ambulance Service chief being paid 'double the money he should', health minister says. 

Conservative junior health minister Dan Poulter said the pay packet was 'obscene' and has called for a review. However WMAS said Mr Marsh was saving taxpayers £100,000 a year by taking on the work of two chief executives and running the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) as well. He has been tasked with turning it around following a damning report he wrote on it last year.

On top of his salary, he also stays in hotels funded by the taxpayer and spends up to £400 a week on taxis to take him between the two areas.

Meanwhile a letter leaked to West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson, written by former East of England Ambulance Service chairman Geoffrey Harris, also raised concerns about Mr Marsh’s appointment. In the letter last year, ahead of Mr Marsh taking up the post, Mr Harris said: “We cannot see how any chief executive, no matter how competent and experienced, working on a part-time basis could commit sufficient time and focus to EEAST to address the organisation’s leadership, management and developmental needs.”

But Ms Scott said: “Mr Marsh is an extremely hard worker. Both trusts agreed the arrangements. He only wants the best for patients. He is assisting East of England. If at any time the trusts thought it was detrimental the arrangement would end.”

Do you think Mr Marsh's salary is fair? 

Ms Scott attended a meeting of Staffordshire’s health scrutiny committee in Mr Marsh’s place along with other members of staff.

Chairman of the committee Councillor Kath Perry said: “I am a little disappointed that the chief executive couldn’t be with us.

“It’s once a year we hold the ambulance trust to account and it’s disappointing he’s not here.”

Speaking after the meeting she added: “The chief executive is the figurehead of the trust. We tried to agree a date that was suitable but were told it would be September or October at the earliest.”

Agendas were printed saying the 'chief executive and colleagues' would attend but councillors had know in advance that he would not be there.

See also: West Midlands Ambulance Service boss in £50k pay rise.

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Comments for: "Ambulance deputy defends £232,000 a year boss"


I simply cant get my head around the gall

his pay is obscene!

her defense of his salary is obscene!

Sack them both

while we're at it, who appoints these people ?

everyone on the selection panel needs the sack as well


His pay is high, but he may be worth it. Judge him by his results.

When I worked in the Department of Health, I was impressed by the high quality of NHS managers.

If he is considered to be worth it, I am prepared to trust the judgement of those who made the decision, and if the results are not as expected then is the time to remove him and look at the selection process.


I question your judgement.

1. You worked in the department of Health - The very people who oversee this type of thing.

2. You were 'impressed with the high quality of NHS managers'. Seriously?

There probably are some 'good eggs' in management in the NHS. The majority sadly don't have a clue and aren't helped by the lack of support from the government.

This is not a cost saving at all. He's working 3 days at one service and 2 days at another. One service is losing 3 days of a chief executive per week and the other one is losing 2 days. No doubt the deputies are picking up the pieces. How long before they want a pay rise to make up the difference?

This man is earning more than the primeminister by a long way whilst the rest of the ambulance services front line staff are chasing their tails, running round in circles, suffering pay freezes, pay cuts, down banding, pension cuts, struggling to make ends meet and working longer for the priveledge.

It is obscene!


The Department of Health sets down the perameters, but the NHS is pretty autonomous.

As the largest employer, by a long way, in the country I am sure there are some bad managers, that is inevitable in any large organisation.

I can only say that I met a lot of NHS managers in the fields of nurse training, hospital building, IT, mental health and NHS personel and finance departments and I can say that almost without exception I was impressed by the good quality of management in the NHS.

You are entitled to your opinion, but I don;t think it is right to judge the bloke, or his worth, until his achievements, or lack of them, can be looked at.


She would back him, she's getting ready to fill his boots, and she ain't going to talk down her, sorry, his salary now is she?


Yes, I don't think Diane Scott's opinion (as Mr Marsh's deputy) actually counts for all that much, does it? I mean to say, she's hardly going to say that he's a shirker who is stealing the money.

If the Trust was performing as well as they keep telling us (that large overstafed and expensive PR department again....) I wouldn't object to the pay. But in rural areas the Service is very poor and they keep trying to blame everyone else for it. Also, NHS 111 still leaves much to be desired.

Of course, what never changes is the self-satisfied sentiments from senior executives (drafted for them by the PR Department). While morale in the Service just goes on sliding down the drain...

fed up worker

This man has run the service into the ground he has bought a regime of bullying into the service road staff are run into the ground, if they become injured at work they are harrassed and bullied into returning to work. If they cannot give a return to work date sacked. Response times are getting worse due to the waste of resources being sent to nonsense callers regularly tying up crews. Then whilst crews are trying to do their job safely they are harrassed for updates preventing them from doing their jobs properly. He has introduced a multi tier pay scale which is enforced by threat of disciplinary action when questioned. Jobs are held just to save money making patients wait 45 minutes until a response is sent while crews will be available on station. Then to add insult to injury if there is a lull in calls


This sounds about right the man is so self confident it borders on arrogance. A response time of 45 minutes is however an improvement on an hour my wife had to wait in a very uncomfortable position when she dislocated her hip in 2012. We did make a second 999 call after 30 minutes so expect the delay was shown as 30 minutes. How can anyone say this man or his deputy are doing their job, a £2.6 million fine for failure, over 3 complaints a day and whilst they can say many of them were dismissed, one of those upheld by the Parliamentary Ombudsman was dismissed out of hand by the WMAS Trusts investigating officers, so I would not be very enthusiastic about the results of the internal investigations. This man should be doing one job full time not 2 part time.

fed up worker

Weary crews are sent out to standby to standby points bought in after all the stations were sold off. The man cannot run one service properly let alone 2. His track record speaks for itself. His wages could employ more paramedics.


"deputy defends boss"

and what do bears do in the woods?


Tom Watson's assassination of Marsh on BBC Suffolk was a joy to hear. Who is the Interim Financial Director now departed in May 2014? And an arrest warrant issued on senior executive in March which Marsh claims to know nothing about. If in charge one would hope he knew about arrest warrants for members of staff perhaps his deputy can be of help?


I see the Star is at it again - censoring perfectly reasonable posts....

Margaret Hamilton

There are plenty in private industry who get and waste a lot more than this. and they are the people we are supposed to look up to. "You've got to pay for the best", their mantra for years has hit the public sector and people don't like it.


Who said we are supposed to look up to them?

These high salaries are not the norm in private industry, only larger corporations where the best people are regarded as essential to the success of the business, pay that type of salary, like pharmaceuticals, banking and insurance.

A lot of public sector jobs are so complex that it is now seen as important to attract the best, top quality people and that means competing with the large companies with their remuneration packages.

This is not something new, it happened with Michael Edwards in British Leyland and Ian Mc Gregor in the coal board, and they were both over 30 years ago.