Shona Robison has been an MSP for almost as long as I have been a reporter.
Given that I joined this paper some time around the last ice age, that means Ms Robison, MSP for Dundee City East and health secretary, has been involved in politics for a very long time indeed.
I can’t claim to know her well but, at the risk of being presumptuous, I think I can guarantee Ms Robison did not get into politics to watch grieving families get attacked for raising concerns, even if it is supposedly in her defence.
Ms Robison is no great Tweeter and is facing calls to resign on a near-daily basis, so her intervention last week shows how appalled she must have been at the abuse directed towards Gillian Murray for raising concerns about mental health services in Tayside.
Ms Murray’s uncle David Ramsay committed suicide after being turned away from the Carseview Centre in Dundee. It is one of a number of similar cases in Tayside and the issue was raised by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard at First Minister’s Questions.
Ms Murray’s emails to the Scottish Government had gone unanswered – as, it turns out, a result of human error – so she had gone elsewhere for help. Labour took up the cudgels and are now demanding a public inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.
The correct response, the only response, to Ms Murray’s situation is one of sympathy and a hope that she and others in her situation get the answers that allow them to move on with their lives.
In the strange black and white world of social media though, such considerations are lost and Ms Murray found herself accused of being a Labour stooge and was even told she should be ashamed of her actions.
Hence Ms Robison’s intervention and a public rebuke, repeated by the First Minister, for those attacking Ms Murray.
Sadly, the trolls who think they are defending the SNP or the NHS are unlikely to pay any attention.
It takes a huge leap of imagination, or iron-willed denial, to pretend the NHS in Scotland is in rude health.
Short of throwing billions of pounds more at it there will always be a gap between public expectations and what the health service can actually deliver.
But where things are not working as well as they should be, or where there is a suspicion they are not, people should be able to speak out without fear of a virtual mob calling them or their motives into question.
NHS Tayside has now said it will commission an independent inquiry into Carseview.
Given the frustrations families like Ms Murray’s have already endured, that is unlikely to be enough.
It will take a public inquiry before they can stop fighting – and start mourning.