A doctor's claim he was targeted by the healthcare regulator in England because he was a whistleblower has been described as "fanciful".
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Shyam Kumar alleges his role as a special adviser to the Care Quality Commission was ended unfairly.
The decision was tied to concerns he raised about the regulator's hospital-inspection regime, he says.
His claims were made during an employment tribunal hearing.
Seconded by his employer, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Mr Kumar had been giving the CQC expert advice on surgical departments during hospital inspections.
But he was "disengaged" from this role - a technical term used in the tribunal process - in early 2019.
The CQC said a letter he had written to a colleague he had been in dispute with at his trust was incompatible with the standards expected of its special advisers.
But Mr Kumar claims it was because, in 2018, he raised concerns with senior CQC figures that he was expected to simply rubber-stamp the final report following an under-resourced inspection.
He had been seen as a thorn in the regulator's side, Mr Kumar said.
And he accused it of sweeping his concerns under the carpet and providing false assurances on patient safety.
But at the Manchester hearing, the barrister representing the CQC, Tim Holloway, put it to Mr Kumar his claim the regulator had ignored his concerns was "fanciful".
There was clear evidence it had acted on the issues Mr Kumar had raised, Mr Holloway added.
The hearing is expected to last for several more days.