Not every set of NHS reforms has excited as much interest as there is today.

More work and consultation took place in the run-up to the 1974 reorganisation than on any structural change before or since.

Public interest was virtually nil, and there were no fanfares from doctors. There had been no bitter political battles and no threats of doctors walking out.

Neither the health needs of the population nor the staffing of the service were going to change.

Perhaps the absence of drama accounted for the general lack of enthusiasm for the first major face-lift in 25 years.

The failure of TV and radio 'to fulfil their duty to stimulate informed public debate on important issues' was raised by the Social Morality Council, which pointed to the absence of any serious TV programmes on the topic in the two years after May 1971 when the government's intentions became clear.

The BBC replied that there had been a programme on Radio 4 in September 1972.