NHS bureaucracy is increasing with a 'staggering' 56 bodies now in place to inspect, monitor and assess the service, a new report from the NHS Confederation says.

Despite promises from government and regulators that the burden of regulation would reduce, the report found that the pressures were increasing.

And it said the concordat, set up in 2004 to streamline and reduce the impact of regulation on the NHS, had made little impact and was 'perceived as weak'. The confederation said the voluntary nature of the concordat, and the fact that it focused only on the co-ordination of inspection visits, and not on co-ordinating the compilation of evidence, had limited its impact.