When New Labour (through the lips of Tony Blair) adopted the catchphrase, ‘Education, Education, Education’ back in 2007, one presumes that the intention was not to demonstrate that the listening British audience was so thick that it was necessary to say things three times in order to generate a glimmer of understanding. At a time when political ‘spin’ was being reinvented and turned into a science, the phrase was no doubt designed and intended to be memorable – and so it proved. The words came back to haunt New Labour, much to their chagrin, and they were re-quoted a good deal more than three times (and not in a kind way). Similarly, since first coined about a century ago, the catchy strapline ‘Location, Location, Location’ has stuck as a way of emphasising that no other feature of a property matters more than the environment and position in which it is situated. Get that right and a lot of other things become possible. But get that wrong and you can spend all the money you like and never be able to compensate for it. Unfortunately, it appears that all this endless repetition has another unwelcome side effect. ‘Regulation, Regulation, Regulation’ appears to be the new mantra of health and social care. We have our medical and social care colleagues to thank for this, and in particular the likes of Shipman, Neale, Ledward, Allitt et al. Bristol, Cleveland, Alder Hey and Haringey, West Kent, High Wycombe, Rochdale and Mid-Staffordshire are no longer just places on the map for those of us working in healthcare and social care – they are all important milestones on a journey we would have preferred not to take.
Self-regulation of professions like ours is a concept that will soon be unimaginable to future generations, and consigned to stories exchanged from the laps of grandparents in the same way as descriptions of traditional ribbon typewriters might be today.