The chief executive of Lincolnshire's hospitals has been sacked for using foul language.
But supporters of Gary Walker – the man who succeeded in taking United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust out of £24.5m of debt – says his mild swearing is being used as an excuse to get rid of him.
Mr Walker fell out with bosses at NHS East Midlands at the end of the 2008/09 financial year when the trust failed to meet Government targets for 18-week treatment times and A&E waiting periods.
He argued that unprecedented levels of sickness meant it was safer to cancel non-urgent operations and concentrate on treating emergency patients.
But following the spat, Mr Walker went off sick with stress and was last week sacked.
It now emerges that he was pulled up in front of a disciplinary panel at ULHT on February 1 led by the trust's new chairman Paul Richardson.
He was told that his swearing was unacceptable which led to his dismissal on Wednesday.
Former chairman of the trust David Bowles said that Mr Walker swore no more than any other member of the trust's board.
"He was nothing like Gordon Ramsey," he said.
Mr Walker has told the Echo that he intends to appeal against his dismissal.
"I am devastated by the trust's decision last week," he said.
"I intend to appeal the decision and cannot therefore comment further, although I understand they have started recruiting a replacement chief executive."
Head of communications at ULHT Clare White said: "We can neither confirm nor deny any reasons for the departure of the chief executive Gary Walker.
"He left the trust on Wednesday, February 3 and we will now begin the process of recruiting a new chief executive to lead the trust.
"In the interim, the current management arrangements, with Bernard Chalk as acting chief executive, will remain."