Former trust chief executive John Roylance is to appeal to the Privy Council after being struck off by the General Medical Council for his part in the Bristol heart babies case.

Dr Roylance, who formerly headed United Bristol Healthcare trust, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct for failing to act on warnings that too many babies were not surviving heart operations.

The Medical Defence Union, which is representing him, confirmed that an appeal had been lodged, but refused to reveal its terms.

There are concerns that Dr Roylance's appeal could delay the public inquiry into the case.

Helen Rickard, secretary of the Bristol Heart Action Group and mother of one of the children who died, said: 'If it does delay the inquiry I will be furious.'

A GMC spokesperson said there had been no appeal from Bristol surgeons James Wisheart, who was struck off, or Janardan Dhasmana, who was banned from paediatric operations for three years.