The Department of Health today graciously reminded us of a classic Microsoft Word trick that should never be forgotten.

Whoever did the final editing of health secretary Andy Burnham’s statement to the Commons on swine flu failed to turn off the “track changes” function.

So when an HSJ colleague opened the document and flicked change tracking back on she was met not only with evidence of lax writing (“set in motions plans to develop a vaccine” becomes “start to…”) but something potentially more interesting.

Removed from the end of the health secretary’s speech was the statement: “I’d particularly warn people against deliberately exposing children to the virus at so-called Swine Flu parties.”

In recent days the British Medical Association and chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson have condemned the events, where parents gather their children in the hope they will pick up a mild bout, and immunity. As far as I can see ministers have so far remained silent on the topic.

There is every reason to believe the omission was to prevent the Mr Burnham taking up too much of MPs’ time unnecessarily.

Perhaps his office or the DH, after reminding staff to watch their change tracking, could confirm their reasoning?