The trust chair who steered through the controversial service reconfiguration in Kidderminster, which saw a hospital campaigner elected as an MP, has resigned.

Harold Musgrove said this week that his 'withdrawal' from the chair of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals trust was nothing to do with the vociferous campaign against the downgrading of Kidderminster General Hospital, which culminated in local doctor Richard Taylor's election to parliament on a Health Concern ticket this year. But Dr Taylor expressed delight at Mr Musgrove's departure.

Mr Musgrove said he had reached 'a major milestone' in achieving what was now 'a very responsible, reliable strategic plan' for Kidderminster Hospital, in which the E and B blocks would be used to house ambulatory care and short-stay inpatient elective surgery. Protesters' ire had been sparked by the removal of accident and emergency and inpatient services.

He said: 'Of course, You have got these irresponsible alarmists in Kidderminster who are doing everything possible to stop the renovation of Kidderminster [Hospital], ' but denied this had anything to do with his departure.

Mr Musgrove was due to finish his term in October 2003, with patients beginning to use the new Worcestershire PFI hospital in 2002. He said that having seen the trust through a number of milestones, he did not want to wait for the next one 'because it becomes repetitive'.

Dr Taylor, now MP for Wyre Forest, welcomed Mr Musgrove's decision. 'We have found it quite impossible to talk to him. We are looking forward to his replacement being someone with a different style of management.'

He added that it was 'very odd' that Mr Musgrove was leaving 'because he said he'd stay and see things through'.

Mr Musgrove retorted: 'He knows if I stayed, all the renovation would take place. He's hoping he'd be able to persuade whoever's my replacement to delay.'

A former chair and chief executive at Austin Rover, Mr Musgrove was chair of West Midlands ambulance service and Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull trust before being appointed chair of the project team to reconfigure services in Worcestershire.