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£525 for ambulance boss' journey to work

Sandwell | News | Published:

An ambulance boss's journey to work and accommodation cost taxpayers £526 for a single round trip, it can be revealed today.

West Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive Anthony Marsh, who earns £232,000 a year, spent around 90 nights in hotels over the past 16 months, during which he has also taken on the top job at struggling East of England Ambulance Service.

He has racked up £30,000 of accommodation and transport costs since July 2013.

One night alone, a Sunday in May, saw him claim £188 on expenses for a room at the Hotel Du Vin in Cambridge.

A room at Hotel Du Vin in Cambridge

He also claimed £96 for a taxi ride from the West Midlands to get there and another £242 for one to bring him back the next day.

East of England Ambulance Service spokesman Chris Hartley said: "Mr Marsh had a live BBC Radio Cambridgeshire interview and phone in before going on to other commitments and engagements. The hotel was conveniently located close to the radio station.

"Mr Marsh was prepared to travel on Sunday, interrupting his weekend and family time, so that he was able to talk to the public on the radio about how is he transforming the service and to answer their questions. If he was to drive down on the morning, he would have to had to get up around 4am."

Mr Marsh's pay has come under fire from an MP and a health minister after it was revealed he was given a £50,000 pay rise now that he runs the two services.

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See also: I'm working too much, says £232k West Midlands Ambulance boss.

Figures released by East of England Ambulance Service show Mr Marsh's hotel bills cost between £70 and £188 every night he stays in the area.

But he has also stayed 20 nights in the the £215-a-night Pullman St Pancras in London.

He has used the four-star Belfry in Cambourne 24 times plus other stays in the likes of the luxury Champney's spa in Henlow and his night in Hotel du Vin.

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The ambulance services say his taxi rides are better than using trains, which would require multiple changes, because Mr Marsh can work en route and answers all his own emails.

West Midlands Ambulance Service also leases Mr Marsh a Range Rover Sport at a cost of £12,106.32 a year.

The services say Mr Marsh saves taxpayers more than £100,000 a year by doing the work of two chief executives.

But Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, said: "This is yet more proof that trust costs under the leadership of Mr Marsh have got wildly out of control. It has to stop."

Tory junior health minister Dan Poulter has called Mr Marsh's pay 'obscene' and demanded a review.

However Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb said Mr Marsh was the best man for the job to turn around the fortunes of the East of England Ambulance Service and it was 'essential' he be kept.

"I would prefer to pay one good leader a salary to secure him rather than pay vast amounts of public money on excessive management levels on a poor service," Mr Lamb said.

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