Four non-executive directors at Southern Health Foundation Trust have resigned after a review by the trust’s latest interim chair.

Jon Allen, Malcolm Berryman, Judith Smyth and Trevor Spires have jointly offered the resignations to Alan Yates, the trust’s interim chair.

A fifth non-executive director, Tracey Faraday-Drake, resigned earlier this month.

Mr Yates is due to step aside as chair at the beginning of July.

The trust has been dogged by scandals over poor patient care and corporate governance since the death of Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at the trust in July 2013. 

Former chief executive Katrina Percy was heavily criticised for her handling of the crisis and the board failed to act on wider safety concerns. Ms Percy resigned to take up a strategic role in August last year before resigning from that position in October. In December 2015, a report by the audit firm Mazars highlighted failures at the trust to investigate and learn from patient deaths.

Earlier this month, the Care Quality Commission announced it would bring its first ever prosecution of an NHS trust over an “alleged failure to provide safe care” against Southern Health after a patient fell from a roof at one of its hospitals. The trust is also facing prosecution over “other patients being exposed to a significant risk of avoidable harm”.

Mr Yates said the trust had now completed its clinical services review, which will be made available next week.

He said services at the trust were improving and plans for improvement marked “a turning point in the trust’s life and the opportunity to move forward in a different way from the past”.

He added: “My colleague non-executive directors have offered me their full support in the development of the future strategy of Southern Health over the last few months. It is clear to us all that the trust leadership will need to look quite different if it is to meet the needs of patients and service users, as well as its stakeholders in the future.

“They have also fully supported me as I try to develop a board with the skills specific to these new strategic tasks. As a consequence, four non-executive directors have this week jointly offered their resignation from their posts so that the governors can, with my help, recruit to the need for all five new non-executive directors. The trust will also need to recruit a new chair. I was appointed for a fixed term and plan to cease the role at the beginning of July or sooner if my replacement can be appointed earlier.

“We will recruit to these new roles as quickly as possible and I am grateful to my colleagues that they have offered to continue to serve and ensure continuity of trust governance until that is the case.”