A senior trust manager chosen to lead a regional taskforce to improve nurses' working lives is being investigated by nursing regulatory body the UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.

Peter Blythin, director of nursing and quality at North Staffordshire Hospital trust, was named as a 'nurse champion' by North West regional office last month.

But last week it emerged that the UKCC is considering a complaint against Mr Blythin for allegedly lying to a patient representative in the course of an investigation into the trust's handling of child protection issues. Mr Blythin has been leading the trust's investigation.

North Staffordshire Hospital trust released a statement vigorously defending him. 'The trust has thoroughly examined these accusations and can find no substance in the complaint about Mr Blythin.

'Indeed the trust has every confidence both in Mr Blythin's integrity and in his handling of [the] original complaint.'

The trust also insisted that the child protection allegations, though 'complex and potentially serious', were 'unsubstantiated'.

Mr Blythin's embarrassment is the latest twist in the increasingly convoluted investigations at North Staffordshire Hospital trust, which focus on the work of consultant paediatrician Prof-essor David Southall.

The trust is at the centre of a regional review into ethical and consent procedures, led by West Midlands regional public health director Professor Rod Griffiths.

It is also under consideration by the General Medical Council. Two weeks ago a mother's unsubstantiated claim that the trust had given her the wrong baby to bury made headlines in the national press.

The same woman is among complainants who allege that their babies were involved without consent in a ventilator trial, run by Professor Southall.

The trust has also received complaints from mothers claiming to have been falsely accused of child abuse.

Professor Southall pioneered a controversial video surveillance technique at the trust.