A doctor has won a court injunction against a trust which suspended him after he carried out an unauthorised audit of cancer screening results.

Northampton General Hospital trust agreed an order forcing it to comply with its own disciplinary procedures.

It will also contribute a sum estimated at£2,500 to Dr Anil Jain's legal costs.

Supporters of Dr Jain, breast cancer screening programme manager at the trust, are now calling for an independent inquiry into the way it handled the case.

A source said: 'The procedures have very clearly gone wrong. It has taken nine months to go back to square one.'

Dr Jain was accused of personal misconduct after raising concerns about the quality of the breast cancer screening service with his line manager.

The charge was later changed to professional misconduct.

Northampton General chief executive David Wilson defended the trust's actions.

'The trust has always been more than happy to comply with its own disciplinary procedures. We didn't need a court order to make us do that.'

Mr Wilson said the trust was contributing to Dr Jain's legal fees because the consultant had 'saved the trust money' by withdrawing part of his claim, for immediate reinstatement.

The case is due to be decided by a disciplinary panel in September.

Mr Wilson blamed the length of Dr Jain's suspension on the complexity of the system for suspending doctors.

'The disciplinary process for medical staff is long and protracted and takes an inordinately large amount of time.'

A supporter of the consultant radiologist said the case was 'an example of blaming the messenger instead of listening to the message'.

But Mr Wilson said: 'We have a whistleblowing policy that helps staff who want to raise questions.'

Staff who raise legitimate concerns are now protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act, which came into force earlier this month.

It offers whistleblowers who follow the steps laid down in the act unlimited compensation or reinstatement.

The government is also tackling lengthy suspensions of consultants.

A review panel, due to issue a consultation document 'later this year', is considering imposing a 12-month limit to stop cases dragging on.