An ambulance chief is earning £50,000 per year extra for leading services in our region.

Anthony Marsh became chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service in January, combining the role with the same position in the West Midlands.

Dr Marsh works a 70-hour week to justify his combined £232,000 annual salary, an ambulance service spokesman said.

A national newspaper article has criticised Dr Marsh’s pay package, claiming he is one of the highest paid public servants in the country.

He was chief executive of the former Essex Ambulance Service, which merged with other trusts in the region in 2006, and has held senior posts at ambulance trusts across the country.

Last March, Dr Marsh led a review of the East of England trust, which criticised the amount of time patients were being made to wait for ambulances.

In December, it was announced he would take on a troubleshooting role in the region, working four days per week in the East of England, on secondment from the West Midlands.

In April this year, the East of England trust scored top marks in a patient satisfaction survey.

Labour MP Tom Watson criticised Dr Marsh’s £232,000 salary as a “banker-style” top-up.

But ambulance bosses claim the combined role saves the taxpayer £130,000 per year.

A joint statement by the ambulance services said: “Mr Marsh is now responsible for the running of both organisations, doing the job of two chief executives.

“He is not, however, earning the salaries of two chief executives.

“On average, Mr Marsh works at least 70 hours a week to ensure both areas receive his full attention.

“East of England Ambulance Service was a failing trust.

“Since his appointment as interim chief executive, Mr Marsh has brought in brand new frontline vehicles and almost 400 new staff.

“The organisation has turned a corner.”

The spokesman said 11 chief fire officers and ten police chief constables serve the two regions Dr Marsh oversees.