Even if they do not come up with any new policy, they've got an awful lot of ammunition with which to bombard the government
Just as the party conference season gets into full swing, the papers are full of the politics of the NHS.
A shock poll in the Financial Timesfound that, for the first time since 1997 - and probably a considerable time before that - the Conservatives were seen as the party with the best policies on health, at 25 per cent compared to 21 per cent for Labour.
As public policy editor Nick Timmins points out, this is 'despite the fact that the party yet has little formal policy in place'. Perhaps the Tory conference will change all that.
Even if they do not come up with any new policy, they've got an awful lot of ammunition with which to bombard the government.
Late last week, The Timessplashed on leaked e-mails that seemed to indicate that Labour ministers were seeking to exert political influence on controversial reconfigurations.
All the papers followed this up, adding their own spin. For the Daily Mail, unsurprisingly, Europe is to blame. It highlighted health secretary Patricia Hewitt's request for lists showing where the EU working-time directive was likely to have 'the most serious impact'.
The Conservatives will face the might of the medical establishment if they oppose change. The Observerreported that the heads of the British Medical Association and the RoyalCollege of Physicians were backing the call made by NHS chief executive David Nicholson in last week's Guardianfor 60 reconfigurations.
Opposing 'faceless bureaucrats' is one thing. Perhaps the Tories might be more willing to listen to doctors.