Former Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash was awarded £5million by an NHS compensation body, a sum which healthcare campaigners believe is far too high.

Ash, 47, was awarded the record sum after catching MSSA, a variant of hospital superbug MRSA.

The Mirror reports that Ash was ‘delighted’ with the payout, but Neil Manser of National Concern for Healthcare Infections said: “I am totally shocked.

“This money will be coming out of the NHS where it is desperately needed to pay for things like the prevention and treatment of superbugs like MRSA.”

Derek Butler, of MRSA Action UK, said: “There are an awful lot of people out there that have lost family to MRSA or have suffered themselves who have received far less than that. And in most cases nothing at all.”

Leslie’s lawyer Janice Gardner defended the award, saying the superbug effectively destroyed her client’s career. “This is a significant settlement which recognises that Leslie has been seriously injured,” said Gardner.

“She is delighted the legal action is now over. It’s been an incredible strain.”

Leslie almost died after catching MSSA while being treated for a punctured lung and two broken ribs at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The former actress still walks with a stick.