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Care Quality Commission inspectors will be getting extra training in how to spot signs of distress after a coroner ruled an Ofsted inspection contributed to a headteacher’s death.

At a board meeting this week, the regulator revealed plans to develop a programme assisting assessors with improving risk assessments, identifying signs of distress in providers, learning how to relay distressing news to managers, and how to have supportive conversations once those messages have been relayed.

The plans come amid serious concerns about Ofsted inspections following the suicide of headteacher Ruth Perry. Recent criticism has come from MPs on the Commons’ education committee who recommended a ban on the use of single-word ratings such as “good” and “inadequate”.

Ofsted inspections were paused for two weeks in January while inspectors received mental health training.

In its board papers CQC states that while its regulatory role is slightly different from Ofsted’s in education, “understandably, comparisons will be drawn with our work and that of Ofsted because of our use of ratings to describe quality”.

In the document, director of policy and strategy Joyce Frederick said: “We are reviewing the training we give to our operations colleagues to protect the welfare of providers following assessment and inspection.”

Interesting timing

The chief executive of a trust which is one of the worst performers nationally for emergency care has announced she is resigning after a long tenure.

Ann James will step down as CEO of University Hospitals Plymouth Trust at the end of March after 12 years leading the organisation, and 35 years in the NHS.

UH Plymouth has struggled with emergency care performance in recent years – in particular with ambulance handovers, which average at around two hours this winter, the worst in England. The trust’s Derriford Hospital is also one of the worst performing A&Es nationally.

A trust announcement said Mrs James “made a significant contribution to improving healthcare across Devon and Cornwall… in very challenging circumstances,” pointing to achievements such as securing more than £300m capital investment for the trust.

The announcement did not say why Mrs James was leaving. But she said: “It has been the greatest honour to play a part in the incredible journey of UH Plymouth and it was never going to be easy, or feel like the right time, to step away from being chief executive.”

Also on today

Ministers have “effectively dismantled” England’s national public health unit less than three years after creating it, sparking criticism from a former Tory health minister and sector leaders, HSJ has learned. And Dave West takes a deeper dive into the story in this week’s The Integrator.