CQC chief inspector of primary care Dr Rosie Benneyworth will quit the role this summer.
The former GP, who replaced Professor Steve Field in the post in 2019, will take on a new role as an interim chief investigator at the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB).
The CQC has yet to name Dr Benneyworth’s successor but said it will announce interim arrangements ‘in due course’.
Announcing her departure, the CQC described Dr Benneyworth as ‘a steadfast advocate for people who use services’, who had also appreciated ‘the pressures faced by providers’.
Among achievements, it highlighted her role in developing the CQC’s inspection regime for newly-formed ICSs as well as in taking forward CQC strategies relating to inequalities and human rights.
It said this included leading work over the past two years ‘to understand how ethnic minority-led practices experience regulation’.
At the start of this year, the CQC admitted its inspection and monitoring methodology ‘may inadvertently disadvantage’ ethnic minority-run GP practices and lead to ‘inequities’.
Dr Benneyworth said: ‘Throughout my career I have been lucky to work with people who are committed to making sure that everyone gets the care that they need.
‘I have seen this in both my colleagues at CQC and in the many dedicated providers that we regulate.’
She added: ‘We need to find new ways of working across the health and care system rapidly to meet the challenges we are facing now and in the future.’