The new chief executive of one of London's highest-profile trusts has come under fire for spending £25,000 redecorating his offices.

Professor Ron De Witt, who joined King's Health Care trust in May, issued a statement saying the work was part of a£100m redevelopment programme.

But Geoff Martin, campaigns director for pressure group London Health Emergency, condemned Professor De Witt for 'an appalling waste of NHS resources'.

'Staff will feel extremely bitter and angry at this spending at a time when all areas of the service are being told to make 3 per cent efficiency savings and there is no money to pay people for working over the millennium, ' he said.

Professor De Witt moved from Leeds health authority, where he was brought in as a 'clean pair of hands' following the 'Yorkshiregate' financial scandals of the early 1990s.

He has chosen to have his new office painted, 25-year-old carpets replaced, and new lighting and central heating installed. A seminar room has also been created.

Shelley Eugene, chief officer of Lambeth community health council, said: 'I think Professor De Witt thinks he is Lord Irvine, ' in a reference to the Lord Chancellor's much criticised refurbishment of his Westminster living quarters.

'It is not a great office, but compared with some of the facilities for patients at King's it is fine.'

Southwark CHC chief officer Malcolm Alexander said he was 'amazed' at the admission by the trust. Professor de Witt's office was 'rather smart', he said.

'The director of operations, on the other hand, works out of a mobile office.'

A trust spokesman defended the cost: 'The heavy usage of the offices has created wear and tear over the years, which this work is repairing.'