17 JANUARY 2008

Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash has been awarded a record-breaking £5 million compensation payout from the NHS. It had previously been reported that the star, who contracted a hospital superbug in 2004 which left her unable to work, was set to receive a sum in the region of £500,000.

The 47-year-old, who still walks with the aid of a stick, was being treated for broken ribs and a punctured lung after falling out of bed and onto a table three years ago. While in hospital she caught the bacterial bug MSSA, which is similar to MRSA.

"I was enjoying a fantastic career," says Leslie, who is married to former-footballer Lee Chapman. "Nearly 30 years of it. To be struck down so suddenly was very, very upsetting. I went into hospital with one thing and came out with another."

Leslie, who had starring roles in hit TV series including Merseybeat and Where The Heart Is, was left fighting for her life after contracting the disease. In seeking compensation for her ordeal, she stating she would never get "active roles as an actress again".

"It's the highest we have ever paid out," revealed the chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority. "It's high because she was earning a lot of money before this happened."

As the case was settled out of court yesterday, Leslie was reported to be "delighted" with the outcome.

Photo: ©
"I think she is delighted that we could reach an amicable settlement," said the actress' lawyers, after Leslie was awarded a £5 million compensation payout from the NHS Photo: © Getty Images Click on photo to enlarge