The chair of a leading West Midlands trust which reported 'turbulence' over the implementation of the NHS plan has resigned after finding himself in 'a minority of one' on the board.

Paul Castle, chair of Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull trust, resigned this week over what he said were 'political differences between myself and other members of the board over the kind of organisation we want and the direction we want to head in'.

Mr Castle, a PR consultant, told HSJ in January that he was not aware of any problems, despite suggestions that he did not have the confidence of senior trust managers.

But this week he admitted that there were differences over a range of issues and that the situation could not be sustained.

Differences over the recruitment of a new trust chief executive, and 'the kind of person we need', had also been a factor, Mr Castle acknowledged. The trust has been without a chief executive since Robert Naylor resigned last year to run University College London Hospital trust, after 15 years at the helm.

An 'inconclusive' recruitment round in November had not produced a candidate who had the support of enough people, Mr Castle said, and no appointment had been made. Mr Castle said he felt that many of his colleagues 'didn't want someone who was going to change the organisation very much'.

And he claimed: 'Some of the non-executive directors seemed to think the executive directors should carry a veto over who was appointed. '

Clive Wilkinson, former West Midlands regional chair, has taken over as acting trust chair for the next six months.

Regional director Stephen Day said the trust had needed 'someone very experienced to step in'.