The chair of Southern Health Foundation Trust has resigned on the eve of a critical inspection report by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC report, now published, is very critical of the FT’s leadership, saying there is ”little evidence” of it being proactive in identifying and addressing risks to patients.

In a statement published on Thursday afternoon, Mike Petter said: “I have made the very difficult decision to tender my resignation as chair of Southern Health.

“The trust has recently undergone a significant amount of scrutiny in some service areas and given the challenges it faces I feel it is appropriate for me to allow new board leadership to take forward the improvements.

“I have been involved in Southern Health since the trust was formed in 2011, as a non-executive director, and since August 2015 as chair. It is with great sadness that I now leave the organisation. I offer my support and best wishes to all our staff whose dedication and commitment I am continuously impressed by.”

The leadership of Southern Health has been under intense pressure since the publication of a report by the audit firm Mazars in December, which highlighted failures at the trust to investigate and learn from patient deaths.

The Mazars report was commissioned by NHS England following the death of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk, who drowned in a bath at the trust’s short term assessment and treatment unit in Oxfordshire in July 2013.

A jury inquest found that Mr Sparrowhawk, who had autism and epilepsy, died as a result of drowning following a seizure, and his death was contributed to by neglect.

In response the report, the CQC carried out a focused inspection of the trust in January.

The inspection resulted in a warning notice being issued to Southern Health earlier this month, requiring the trust to take urgent action to improve its arrangements for patient safety.

Shortly afterwards NHS Improvement announced it was putting a new condition on the trust’s licence which would allow it to make “management changes” at Southern Health if progress is not made on fixing the concerns.

Updated to reflect publication of CQC report on 29 April