Rose Gibb returns to the courts today in her battle to get a £175,000 pay-off - two and a half years after she left her job as chief executive at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust.

Ms Gibb quit days before a highly critical Healthcare Commission report into outbreaks of C difficile at the trust. Non-executives on the board had agreed a severance package of around £175,000 plus six months’ pay in lieu of notice - but the £175,000 was never paid after the then health secretary Alan Johnson intervened.

Ms Gibb, supported by her union Managers in Partnership, went to the High Court last year to try to get the money. But the judge ruled against her and she is now going to the Court of Appeal.

The Appeal Court case, which is expected to last two days, will examine critical issues including whether the trust was acting beyond its powers in agreeing to such a substantial severance deal, whether it was then “unjustly enriched” by Ms Gibb agreeing to the terms of the severance deal but receiving no money, and whether it was in breach of contract.  

The case will have implications for other NHS bodies - especially the question of whether trusts have the legal powers to agree payoffs for senior staff above their contractual entitlements or what they could get if they went to an employment tribunal. Trusts can seek approval of such deals from strategic health authorities and the Treasury to ensure they are legally entitled to pay the money.  

More from Ms Gibb’s Court of Appeal hearing on later today.