It seems the NHS has been freed from central control to such an extent that it now occupies a mythical realm beyond the constraints of rational thought.

It is only natural, post liberation, that we all think carefully about what everyone’s job actually is these days.

But health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s deliberations appear to have taken him through the looking glass.

On his role as secretary of state, Mr Hunt gnomically told the Times: “I have to be the canary whispering in the Roman emperor’s ear: ‘you are mortal, things go wrong, and we have to change those things’”.

Was this role of health secretary as magic talking animal what Andrew Lansley had in mind when he designed the new NHS structure? To be fair, it’s as good a guess as any.

On reflection End Game wonders whether Mr Hunt might have mixed up the canary in the mineshaft with the slave employed by the Roman emperor to remind him of his own mortality.

Still, probably better a whispering canary than a slave dragged down a mineshaft to check for deadly gas.

That would be the chief inspector of hospitals.