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Barcelona hospital went on paying former director for seven years

Facility placed in administration by the regional government with debts of more than 18 million euros

A Barcelona hospital paid a former executive his full salary for seven years after he had left the post, it has been discovered. Ricard Gutiérrez Martí was named as right-hand man to the director of the Santa Creu i Sant Pau public hospital, Joaquim Esperalba, in 2001 but left in 2004 when his mentor departed.

It was not until April, 2011 when labor union elections were called that workers’ representatives at the hospital were allowed access to the payroll, where it was discovered that Martí was still listed as an “associate director.” He had held the phantom post for 121 months on a salary of between “80,000 and 110,000 euros,” said hospital sources.

The administrative error has caused profound anger at the hospital, which was placed in administration in March by the regional government with debts of more than 18 million euros. Under cost-cutting measures imposed by the administration of Artur Mas, Santa Creu i Sant Pau has seen its resources slashed by 10 percent.

The details of Martí’s hoodwink have been included in a 38-page complaint presented to police by a doctor at the hospital accusing senior staff of corporate crimes including embezzlement and fraud. Martí is a heavyweight in the Spanish healthcare sector and vice-president of the Medical School Organization and director of a health management professorship at the Doctor Robert Foundation, which is attached to the University of Barcelona.

Neither Martí nor the board at Santa Creus i Sant Pau have answered repeated requests by this newspaper to give their version of events. Neither has any evidence that Martí did any kind of work at the hospital between 2004 and 2011 come to light.