A member of the Royal Free's patient forum resigned in disgust last week, after senior members of the hospital's board failed to stand down over the financial mess' at the hospital.

Ralph Eshwege, who has been a representative of the hospital's Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) forum since January 2004, believes the board of the hospital, which is £10 million in deficit and announced in August that 100 beds would go in an efficiency' drive, needs to officially take responsibility for its financial position.

Mr Eshwege, of Abbots Gardens, East Finchley, a volunteer on reception at the hospital, in Pond Street, Hampstead, handed in his notice to the forum last Thursday at a meeting at the Charlie Ratchford Resource Centre in Belmont Street, Chalk Farm.

"They have got themselves in a hell of a mess and no- one seems to be taking any responsibility for it," he said.

"I couldn't remain a member of the forum when Pam Chesters chair of the trust's board is a member of the board, and everyone else is in the same position.

"Peter Commins, the finance director, hasn't gone. I find that quite incredible. If he had been in the private sector he would have been out on in his ear.

"Martin Else the former chief executive has been promoted to the Department of Health for his sins.

"And Pam Chesters has the audacity to open a ward in Martin Else's name."

A spokeswoman for the hospital said it was disappointed to learn of Mr Eshwege's resignation which, she said raised serious issues that the forum will wish to consider'.

"If they then wish to discuss them with us, we will be happy to do so," she added.