Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has prompted outrage after being paid £50,000 a year for working just two days a week as chairman of a cash-strapped NHS hospital – despite governors being told she would work for free. Smith, who lost her Labour seat as MP for Redditch after a row over her expenses involving second homes and porn films rented by her husband, joined Birmingham's Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) in October 2015. She also has a separate role chairing the nearby University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).
HEFT is responsible for Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, and Smith, along with Dame Julie Moore, were brought in following concerns over finances.
Governors were told at the time that Smith would not be paid for her role, according to the Birmingham Mail.
Former interim Heartlands chief executive Andrew Foster reportedly said in October: "UHB's costs in relation to this support will be covered by arrangements to be agreed between HEFT and UHB. Neither Dame Julie nor Jacqui Smith will receive any extra personal remuneration for their new roles."
But HEFT has now reportedly issued an apology to the governors after it was revealed Smith was in fact to be paid an annual salary of £50,000. The board approved the payment on 6 January.
In a letter to The Birmingham Post, furious governors said they were "misled" and accused board members of "clandestine conduct". It comes as the trust reported a £30 million ($44m, €40.3m) loss in the first five months of the 2015/16 financial year.
According to board meeting minutes, seven governors originally abstained over the decision to appoint Smith, citing concerns over her past expenses scandal.
While a MP, Smith said her sister's bedroom in London was her main residence while claiming expenses for a second home in Redditch. She was ordered to apologise after being found to have broken the rules.
She was also left red-faced after she claimed two pay-per-view pornographic films, watched by her husband, on parliamentary expenses. Her political career ended when she subsequently lost her seat in the 2010 election.
A spokesperson for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust said: "At the Council of Governors' meeting yesterday the remuneration of Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, in her post as chair, was unanimously approved with one abstention."