A consultant at the centre of an investigation into a leading radiology department is to leave his post as clinical director.

The move comes before a government inquiry, believed to be highly critical of the imaging department at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust in London, is finally due to be published.

Professor David Allison told colleagues last week that he had decided, 'in consultation with the chief executive' John Cooper, not to seek reappointment as clinical director.

Professor Allison led the department while it built up a backlog of thousands of unreported x-rays and scans.

A spokesperson for Imperial College School of Medicine, which leads academic work at Hammersmith, said Professor Allison had decided to leave before his 60th birthday next March.

He intends to stay as head of the academic department of imaging at Imperial and as a consultant radiologist at the London trust.

The investigation, into allegations that doctors and other staff were 'victimised' for raising their concerns about the management of the department, was ordered after staff attacked two earlier inquiries as 'cover-ups'.

Health ministers are now studying the report, produced by Professor Ian Cameron, which is set to vindicate doctors who blew the whistle on a backlog of thousands of unreported x-rays and scans.

Staff told Professor Cameron and the previous inquiries that the department suffered from poor working practices, lack of supervision of junior doctors and inadequate management of research funds.

A trust spokesperson denied Professor Allison's decision to give up the clinical director post was linked to the inquiry and said the consultant insisted 'it was a long-standing decision'.

Former staff welcomed the move but called for further action. Professor Peter Dawson , who gave evidence to the Cameron inquiry, said: 'It is essential for the future of the department that the failed management should be moved out and that the succession to clinical director of the department is opened to fair competition.'

The trust spokesperson said she was 'not aware of any other changes' in appointments as a result of the report.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the inquiry's report was expected 'in the next week or so'.