A potentially bitter public row between a trade union and its former chief executive was averted at the 11th hour this week.

Former NHS manager Paul Lambden withdrew his industrial tribunal claim against the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy on the eve of proceedings scheduled to last four days.

He resigned from the CSP last year and threatened legal action for breach of contract after being suspended amid disputed allegations over his conduct.

But a joint statement, issued on Monday, said Dr Lambden's claim had been withdrawn.

It added: 'There is no question of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy making any payment to Dr Lambden. Both parties regard the matter as closed and neither will be making further public comment.'

Dr Lambden, a former first-wave GP fundholder and trust chief executive, joined the CSP in March 1997.

But there was stiff opposition from some members, who disliked his links with the then Conservative government. He was an adviser to former health secretary William Waldegrave on the NHS reforms and co-founded the National Association of Fundholding Practices.

He was suspended by the CSP six months later, following complaints about an after-dinner speech he gave to its annual congress. Though branded 'racist and sexist' by some members, Dr Lambden denied that it had caused offence.

He called the row a 'storm in an after-dinner coffee cup affair' and claimed that he had been caught in the crossfire' between traditionalists and modernisers at the union.

He resigned the pounds 50,000-a-year post in October, hours before a disciplinary hearing was to be held to decide his future with the CSP.

The union, which had alleged that he broke his contract by making 'misleading and critical public statements' about it, cancelled the hearing.

Dr Lambden said at the time that his legal team had advised him to pursue the matter through a tribunal and the courts.

Dr Lambden is now working as secretary to Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire local medical committee.