Parents of babies who died in the Bristol Royal Infirmary heart scandal said yesterday they were horrified and disgusted to learn that one of the surgeons criticised last week in the Kennedy Report is still receiving "merit" payments of up to £20,000 a year.

James Wisheart, the former head of the hospital's children's heart surgery unit, who was struck off by the General Medical Council in 1998, is still being paid the money for his "contribution" to the NHS. The money brings his retirement pension to more than £50,000 per year.

Mr Wisheart was accused by the Kennedy Report of ignoring calls to stop heart operations on children when he should have known his performance was not as good as other surgeons.

Helen Rickard, whose daughter Samantha died after a hole-in-the-heart operation, said: "It is disgusting. He should never have been given the money in the first place ... The whole merit payment system is farcical and should be stopped."

Malcolm Curnow, 44, whose daughter Verity died in 1990, said: "The severity of his and the other doctor's actions are so great they do not deserve pensions. He needs to be hit financially for what he has done – that is the correct punishment."