So as this year's party conferences recede over the horizon, who had a good or bad time of it?
Andy Burnham - good. The health minister charmed multiple fringe events at Labour and in a conference bereft of big ideas at least matched Gordon Brown's board with his own call for an NHS charter. The idea gives Mr Burnham a hook on which to hang his hearts-and-minds campaign.
Ivan Lewis - bad. The social care minister 'threw his toys out of the pram' at a Labour fringe meeting, taking Royal College of Midwives general secretary Dame Karlene Davies to task without ensuring his microphone was off. He wasn't much happier with the audience and its annoying habit of disagreeing with him.
NICE - good. The future of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence seems well assured if chief executive Andrew Dillon can tell the Tories that Labour should listen more closely and that it should be allowed to consume smaller bodies such as the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination. His confidence was rewarded with a commitment to its future from Conservative health spokesman Dr Andrew Murrison.
Unison - mixed. On the surface, the union had a good conference, winning the anti-privatisation vote on the conference floor but quietly dropping its threat to challenge the NHS Logistics deal in cour. Despite the 'national' strike and protests, they have yet to land a telling blow.
Queues - bad. Waiting lists were back in business at the Labour and Conservative conferences, as hundreds of delegates waited in vain, and in the rain, for their passes to be printed. One Tory delegate, marooned with dozens of others in an empty theatre on Sunday night, suggested a simple solution: 'Anyone who obviously has no malign intent should just be let in.'
That's his leader's election slogan right there?