The House of Commons returned this week to complete the unfinished business of the old parliamentary session before the Queen's speech launches us into a fresh round of political thrills and spills. So what better time to look back on the obsessions of the past 12 months?

An illuminating guide to the issues which have taxed our rulers over the past session can be found courtesy of the House of Commons early day motions database, a sterling new service provided by the Commons library for the greater glory of open government and democracy.

By convention, ministers do not generally put their names to such things - hence a duck for Frank Dobson et al in the EDM league table. Others with a political interest in health issues are not so constrained - and some have made full use of the freedom the device offers to voice their views.

Commons health select committee chair David Hinchliffe found time over the last year to put his name to 114 EDMs, ranging from a call to give NHS carers greater recognition to the 125th anniversary of Wakefield Trinity rugby league club.

Not that his score was that impressive: fellow committee member and former NHS manager Julia Drown clocked up a solid 229.

In general Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs seem to make more use of the facility: Lib Dem health spokesman Simon Hughes clocked up 133 signatures, his deputy, Evan Harris, 243; shadow health secretary Ann Widdecombe managed just 36, and her deputy, Alan Duncan, a mere 10.

But Ms Widdecombe can claim one distinction that has so far escaped the others: after the NHS 50th anniversary debate in July, 48 Labour MPs signed an EDM attacking her 'extraordinary' speech lauding the Tory Party and 'inviting her to apologise' for failing to thank NHS staff. That's politics.