The latest list of meetings between ministers and outside interest groups is seen by some as an indicator of who’s flavour of the month.

In the five months before the June ministerial reshuffle, Unison and/or Unite were received four times and the NHS Confederation five times.

During the following five months, the two public sector unions notched up an impressive nine visits - yet the Confed only two.

Judging by the recent announcement on preferred providers, all those meetings and countless cups of tea have paid off.

But might the unions fall out of favour if the Tories sweep to power next spring? Given the party’s equally special relationship with union bosses and NHS “bureaucrats”, it could be a close call.