The government has come under renewed pressure over the Clostridium difficile outbreak at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust.

Faversham and Mid Kent Conservative MP Hugh Robertson has tabled a parliamentary question asking whether NHS South East Coast was consulted about the proposed pay-off for former trust chief executive Rose Gibb. Health secretary Alan Johnson has said the pay-off was possibly illegal and it has been frozen.

Mr Robertson said: 'The strategic health authority has been like Banquo's ghost in this process. We have not heard or seen a thing from them. I am led to believe they were fully aware of the decision to make a pay-off. I don't think there is a single Kent Conservative MP who has any confidence in the SHA.'

Mr Robertson is also asking whether the trust's non-executive directors who left last week were in post at the time of the outbreak.

The trust confirmed to HSJ that the three non-executives who have resigned - Simon Ingman, Gina Jennings and Bruce Sheppy - had only been in post just over a year, joining after the outbreak.