Is that the sound of cannon-fire I hear? Boom. There goes another one. It seems that regulators are under fire.

And this time it's for being too light touch. Well, that makes a change, I suppose. If it's not the FSA not doing its job, it's inspectors giving Haringey plenty of stars for meeting its criteria, which seem to have left one or two crucial areas under-scrutinised.

As the vastly over-detailed, over-long, semantically driven regulators' reports -which readers have no doubt been subjected to in the past - have gradually given way to more 'light-touch' approaches, where has this taken us? Users have been consulted in order to understand what makes reviews more useful to those on the receiving end. Have any reports been of any use? To you as managers and clinicians, or to the public at large?

Imagine a world without them. (I know this is opening the floodgates.) Yes, there'd be a lot less time wasted on filling in forms, employing interims to create strategy documents and practising phrases to recite to inspectors. But would we still have sufficient information to help form a judgement as to which hospital / PCT / SHA / Mental Health Trust etc is better run than the next? Has higher clinical standards? To help the public form a view about their local services? (Perish the thought that it would help them form a view about which consultant to Choose and Book - that's for another era). And would it matter if we didn't?

I suspect you will let me know. Try to leave the emotion out of it, dahlings.

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