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Ambulance chief 'saving thousands'
3:17pm Sunday 20th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
An ambulance service has responded to criticism of its chief executive's "banker-style" salary by claiming he is saving the taxpayer £130,000 a year.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said Anthony Marsh, who was appointed interim head of East of England Ambulance Service at the start of 2014, is being paid £232,000 to run both organisations.
In its statement, West Midlands Ambulance Service said Mr Marsh is "doing the job of two chief executives" and works at least 70 hours each week.
The statement read: "Mr Marsh's substantive position is that of chief executive of West Midlands Ambulance Service.
"He is also chief executive of East of England Ambulance Service. For the combined work his salary has been increased by £50,000, saving the taxpayer approximately £130,000 on the cost of having a substantive chief executive in each ambulance trust.
"For 2014-15, Anthony Marsh's total salary for his work at West Midlands Ambulance Service and East of England Ambulance Service is £232,226."
The total salary includes a £50,000 "uplift" payment agreed after Mr Marsh was appointed as head of the East of England service in January.
Mr Marsh's salary has been criticised by West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson, who is calling on ministers to intervene.
The Labour MP told the Wolverhampton Express and Star: "He is receiving banker-style top-ups to his huge salary whilst taxpayers are struggling to pay their monthly bills.
"It's not fair, it's not right and ministers should stop it."
Mr Marsh, who has led the West Midlands service since 2006, is now responsible for a combined workforce of almost 9,000 staff dealing with a daily workload of around 6,000 emergency calls.
Covering a combined area of more than 12,000sq miles, the two regions are served by 11 chief fire officers and 10 chief constables.