Seems to me there’s never a good time or reason to pick a fight with your doctor. Some people need to be kept on side – know what I mean?

Should the time come when – heaven forefend – you’re bleeding from every orifice and unable to stand, the last thing you need is a medic who proves to be the very antithesis of fast response.

“Ah yes, weren’t you the one who called me lazy, ineffective and a taxpayers’ burden? No matter – we don’t hold grudges held here. Give me a call next Thursday. After lunch.”

Not the best scenario, you’d surely agree. Not if you want to live to see next Friday, anyway. It isn’t big or clever to poke a potential lifesaver in the eye with a stick. Most of us understand that.

So, what’s really behind the latest attempts to denigrate health professionals to the extent that those on whom every one of us relies feels demoralised, demeaned, devalued and about as useful as something foul we might scrape from our shoes?

There’s no definitive answer from this quarter – that’s why I ask. If it’s all about saving money, on what other more important services will it be spent? You’d think someone might have the courtesy to say.

Anne Pickles If it’s more about showing uppity doctors and nurses who’s boss – well, that’s a dangerous game and one in which we’ll be the losers. Maybe it’s one more attempt to render the whole country so fed up with a less than adequate health service we end up begging for it to be privatised. Sold off in sizeable chunks to Richard Branson, Philip Green, Donald Trump…

GPs have been most recently targeted for political poison. They should be working in overburdened hospital emergency departments and care homes, while at the same time opening their own surgeries seven days a week, says the Government. That’s quite some trick. But only if it can be pulled off by allowing a few minutes, several times a day, for doctors to pull on underpants over their trousers and don their capes in phone boxes…

And while hospital A&E units are closing at a rate of knots, what would be the point? Not all GPs are perfect, any more than all patients are perfect. I know of one GP who has taken eight months off to tour the United States. Crisis, what crisis?

And there’s more than a slim chance that a goodly number of patients, waiting to see their doctors on Sundays, might well do so to secure fictitious sick notes for Monday.

It would be wrong to assume that every nurse was an angel or that all care offered to the old and vulnerable is either good or safe. Some managers try really hard to deliver. Some wait to be paid off handsomely for failure. But in the imperfect NHS, wouldn’t short- comings be better seen as opportunities for improvement rather than good reason for calling in the scrap dealers?

You get to a point in life when frequent engagement with the NHS is inevitable. We’re an ageing population – something we’re told repeatedly, to let us know this all our own fault for staying alive – and we need care.

Having recently seen a surgeon lie to his managers to secure an early operation slot to save my father’s sight, I know how committed so many of our doctors are. He high-fived his nurses, as he put down the phone, swearing us to secrecy. “It’ll be fine,” he whispered. “Just back me up if I need you to.”

He’s not the only front-liner my family has seen fighting against his or her own overly bureaucratic system, in order to do the work in which we trust. We’ve always trusted it and we hoped we always could. But that’s in doubt now, which is terrible.

What’s even worse is nobody can or will properly explain why, what will replace it when it has gone or who will collect the rich pickings when the scrap dealers have done their worst.

There has never been a more critical time to shout up for the NHS. It’s on its way out. But only if we allow it.