THE former chief executive of Barnsley Hospital was responsible for more than half the money spent on first class rail trips for staff last year.

Paul O'Connor - who resigned last week - made 30 first class rail journeys during 2011/2012 at a total cost of £2,313.98.

In total there were 43 first class trips for hospital staff ranging from the chief executive to a healthcare technician.

They cost a total of £3,617.58 - and almost half were not booked in advance, so the highest prices were paid.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Hospital, said: "Our chief executive had a need to undertake sensitive and often confidential work while travelling on trust business and this would not be possible in standard class."

"Travelling first class therefore brings benefits in terms of increased working time for him."