The head of the NHS’s watchdog has resigned after criticism over how it monitors patient quality in hospitals.

Care Quality Commission chairwoman Barbara Young has resigned after it was revealed investigators are being sent to Basildon hospital in Essex because it is thought patients have died due to inadequate care.

The CQC said Lady Barbara Young’s decision to quit as chairwoman is voluntary and was conveyed to the UK health secretary Andy Burnham on 26 November “after careful prior reflection”.

Young said having overseen the major task of creating a single regulator for health and social care and pointed it in the right direction, she had decided it would be better for others to take that forward.