A top consultant has quit a hospital trust’s governing board as an inquiry linked to a surgeon accused of botching dozens of operations is due to start.

Paul Upton, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust medical director, has left the board and becomes chief of “transformation” at the under-fire trust with immediate effect.

His decision means the most senior consultant at the Royal Cornwall Hospital is no longer the trust’s medical director or sits on the trust board.

Duncan Browne has been appointed interim medical director and an advert is to be placed for a permanent successor.

Trust chiefs said Dr Upton’s move came as the General Medical Council announced a preliminary inquiry looking at decisions surrounding its former obstetrics and gynaecology consultant.

Gynaecologist Rob Jones, 64, hit the headlines in August 2010 when he was called on to deliver prime minister David Cameron’s fourth child.

The Camerons were on holiday in the county when Samantha Cameron was rushed to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske for an emergency caesarean section.

Dr Jones was on call at the time and delivered the prime minister’s daughter Florence without a problem. But his career was already under a cloud.

By May last year Dr Jones was suspended after a Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists report highlighted concerns about his ability.

It found more than five times the number of surgical complications among his patients during hysterectomy operations than usual in a consultant’s career.

He has since retired, and now runs a bed and breakfast establishment with his wife in Truro, and voluntarily removed himself from the medical register.

But anger remains about his activities as a consultant and the fact he was allowed to practice long after real concerns about his ability were known.

Complaints against the former surgeon from women with whom he had professional dealings have risen to at least 130.

Some have previously gone on record to detail the pain and suffering he caused them as a result of botched operations.

Dr Upton’s decision to step down brings the total number of people quitting the trust’s governing board since June to five.

Lezli Boswell, chief executive of the trust, said: “Dr Paul Upton has today decided to step aside as medical director of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and give up his position on the trust board.

“This move has been taken following the General Medical Council’s decision to begin a preliminary investigation into historic decision making at the trust over the last decade in the case of a former consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.

“Dr Upton has made a valuable contribution to the trust and we do not want to lose his talents and skills within the organisation. We have therefore agreed he will continue to play an important role in transforming services, including his excellent work on improving the clinical environment for patients and staff.

“His new role, alongside his clinical commitments as an anaesthetist, will be as director of transformation which will commence with immediate effect.”