Just two or three years ago even implied criticism of the NHS was unthinkable. It was the nation's sacred cow, free to wander unhindered and unquestioned; it defined 'Britishness' and even to hint that it was less than perfect was alike to declaring one's support for kiddy-fiddling.
How things have changed. The accepted view is now that the NHS is an out-of-control behemoth, unmanageable, our hospitals death-factories, contaminated with deadly bacteria and viruses, uncleaned and unhealthy, staffed with uncaring incompetents, our GPs overpaid fat-cats who golf at weekends while patients die. Above all, we have accepted that NHS management is not only wholly disfunctional, but criminal in its negligence and grossly culpable for its cover-ups.
And now, to little surprise, the Care Quality Commission, the body that itself should have policed standards, has been caught in a massive cover up. This time it's new born babies that have been dying in Herodian proportions. And all the while the top guns, like senior bankers, escape jail.
The reality is that there are many more good, professional, dedicated, caring and committed professionals in the NHS than there are incompetent fraudsters, shysters and other senior managers. A large part of the problem has been a culture of Managerialism that has robbed the professions and the Royal colleges of their authority to secure professional standards.
But not until we have strangled the last NHS bureaucrat with the small intestines of the last NHS board member will we be able to reclaim a useful health service.