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Who regulates the regulators?
  1. Geoffrey Hughes
  1. Correspondence to Professor G Hughes, Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Emergency Department, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, Australia; cchdhb{at}

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The decade's dying days have witnessed an almighty spat about the quality of care provided in the NHS and how it is measured and analysed. The feuding parties include the Care Quality Commission (CQC), its (now former) chairwoman Baroness Young, the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit at Imperial College in London, some NHS trusts, the Health Secretary Andrew Burnham and a regulatory body called Monitor.

In essence, there is disagreement between the CQC and the Dr Foster Intelligence Unit about how they have scored NHS trusts for patient safety, the former scoring some trusts as good or excellent and the latter ranking the same trusts in its lowest category. Some NHS trusts are threatening legal action against Dr Foster and Monitor is doing some monitoring. It's all a bit of an unholy mess. In case it is confusing as to what these organisations do, here is a quick guide.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, we had the Healthcare Commission, a …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.