Patricia Hewitt must be thanking her lucky stars. Any other day and her reception at the Royal College of Nursing would have been the main political story, putting all pressure on her. Instead other events have made it partially buried bad news, a mere part of the wider story of the government's troubles, being upstaged by Charles Clarke.
This Health Secretary is convinced that the NHS has just had its best year ever despite having only visited thirteen hospitals during the last year. Yesterday she was confronted by one of the least militant trade unions of all, a union that has never gone on strike. These are not people who will jeer the government for the sake of it. Nurses know from first hand experience just what state the NHS is in.
A Health Secretary who denies reality about the state of the NHS, who has no clear grasp of the deficits in healthcare trusts and who fails to reassure the medical professions about potential job cuts does nothing to boost crucial morale. There is one redundancy that would give the NHS a morale boost and that is Hewitt's. But it would only be effective if her replacement will get a firm understanding and grip on the job, not live in some other reality.