The leader of the UK's hospital doctors is calling for greater regulation of managers - with powers to stop them working in healthcare in extreme cases.
The call by Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, comes after it was revealed that former trust chief executive Rose Gibb is involved in a healthcare consultancy firm offering interim and turnaround management.
Resolve Healthcare Consulting Services is based at the home of Ms Gibb and her partner Mark Rees and Ms Gibb's mobile phone number is listed on its website as a contact number. At Companies House, a Rose Rees, of the same address, is listed as secretary and director and Mark Rees as a director of M and R Resolve, a private limited company set up late last year.
Ms Gibb left her job as chief executive of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust days before a damning Healthcare Commission report into outbreaks of C difficile. Last week, health secretary Alan Johnson announced that the trust was to pay her£75,000 - six months' salary - rather than a larger payoff of£150,000 agreed at the time.
Dr Fielden said: "The medical profession believes there should be similar strong regulation of management as there is of the medical profession. Managers are not subject to the same degree of scrutiny as doctors and the NHS code of conduct for managers is practically never appended to management contracts and rarely implemented."
He added that the ultimate sanction would be that managers could not work again in healthcare. If managers were to get the respect doctors had among the public, proper accountability was important.
Mr Rees, the managing director of Resolve, quit his own chief executive job at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals trust with a£170,000 payoff days before Ms Gibb's departure. He refused to discuss what role Ms Gibb would have in the company.
Resolve offers a variety of services, including help with private finance initiative projects, turnaround and interim management, and team building and conflict resolution. It says: "Resolve can give you leadership, support, advice and practical implementation by experienced executives who have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the health service."
A spokesman for the Institute of Healthcare Management said: "There is nothing to prevent Ms Gibb setting up such a consultancy, although, in a sector where one's reputation is so important, she may find that her high-profile departure from her former trust and the subsequent intervention from the health secretary means that there may be few takers for her services."
Patients Association vice-chair Michael Summers said: "We are surprised that people whose care of patients in the past has been called into question should now be seeking to advise people on health issues."
The Healthcare Commission highlighted "a litany of errors" at the Kent trust, which led to over a thousand cases of C difficile in two and a half years, which "definitely or probably" caused the death of 90 patients.
See story, page 6.