NHS Grampian chairman Dr David Cameron has temporarily stepped down after being accused of gross misconduct.

He has also been suspended from the posts he holds at the Foods Standards Agency.

Dr Cameron, appointed to chair NHS Grampian in 2007, is “absenting himself” from the health board immediately because he is the subject of an inquiry by the FSA.

NHS Grampian said a vice-chairman will be appointed to carry out his duties in his absence.

Dr Cameron was suspended as chairman of the Scottish Food Advisory Committee, which advises the FSA on food safety and standards, and is also no longer an active FSA board member.

Details of the complaint made against him have not been disclosed but the Press and Journal newspaper reported that a “serious” allegation was made against him by an FSA staff member in May.

The newspaper also reported that Dr Cameron appealed against his suspension at a special hearing on Thursday July 28 and said he would take the case to the Cabinet Office to clear his name, if the appeal failed.

Dr Cameron once lectured in food microbiology, food science and nutrition at the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology, now Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen. He also set up a food safety consultancy and training company in 1990.

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “David Cameron is temporarily absenting himself from the role of chairman of NHS Grampian, with immediate effect. The board will be appointing a vice-chair to perform the duties of chair while he is absent.”

An FSA spokesman said: “The FSA can confirm that Dr David Cameron, a member of its board and chair of the SFAC, has been suspended from both posts because of an allegation of gross misconduct. The allegation is subject to an ongoing inquiry and until that is complete, the FSA will not make any further comment.”

The FSA was launched in Scotland in April 2000, and is said to be committed to “improving food safety and standards in Scotland”.