Professor Christopher Newdick, an expert in health law and regulation, believes health regulation itself should be put on trial.

“The scandal of 1,200 patients who may have died as a result of poor standards of care at the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust between 2005 and 2009 leads to the question – what can be done? The Mid Staffordshire Inquiry, which reports today, asks why NHS regulators failed to spot the problem.

“One answer is more regulation, but that is unlikely to be the answer. Indeed, an over-reliance on regulation may even have exacerbated the problem. Until we tackle this, the awful prospect of a repeat of Mid Staffordshire remains.

“What is really needed is a change of culture on the wards. Crucial to that is giving patients the power to express clear views about the care they receive at the time they receive it. Culture is more likely to be changed from the bottom up, than from the top down.”