Like most British people, I have been a strong supporter of the National Health Service all my life. At its best, it is a wonderful institution, more admired than any other public body.
But in recent years something has gone badly wrong with certain parts of the healthcare system. The uplifting rhetoric about service is not always matched by the reality of practice in some of our NHS hospitals, where patients have been put at sometimes fatal risk by incompetence, squalor and neglect.
Just as disturbingly, instead of addressing these problems, the bureaucracy of the NHS tries to cover them up. A culture of deception and bullying has been allowed to spread across officialdom in the drive to hide the truth from the public, backed up by gagging orders, threats of legal actions, misleading reports and harassment of whistleblowers.