Sir Ian Kennedy who was knighted this week in the new year honours has simultaneously lost his job as professor of health law, ethics and policy at University College London.
Sir Ian had secured three years' leave from the college to chair the Bristol children's heart surgery inquiry. The School of Public Policy in which he was based changed direction while he was away. Sir Ian said he was told the school no longer needed his services just as his leave was finishing at the end of last year.
A college spokeswoman said: "UCL's School of Public Policy has recently been reorientated under a new director. The strategic reorientation took place while Sir Ian was away chairing the Bristol heart surgery inquiry. When he returned, he decided to take early retirement and resigned."
Sir Ian joined UCL four years ago, after more than two decades at King's College London. There, he founded the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics in 1978. In 1980, he used his Reith lectures on "unmasking medicine" to criticise the way that doctors regulate themselves.
Sir Ian received his knighthood for services to bioethics and medical law.