WHEN is a non-story an important news story? When it's an attempt by BBC Scotland to bludgeon public confidence in the Scottish Government just before an important court ruling which might very well pull the rug from underneath Scottish Unionism's traditional claim about the supposedly voluntary nature of the United Kingdom.

There is remarkably little substance to the claims being plastered all over the BBC today that the NHS in Scotland is considering abandoning the founding principle of the NHS, that treatment and care should be free for everyone at the point of use. It's a claim which is even more over-inflated than Andrew Bowie's estimation of himself.

It is, as many on social media have been quick to point out, remarkably similar in tone and content to claims which BBC Scotland made about the NHS just two days before the independence referendum in 2014.

Essentially what the claim boils down to is that during a meeting of NHS Scotland executives in September, a brain storming exercise in which attendees bandied about all sorts of implausible and unrealistic ideas for tackling the funding challenges facing NHS Scotland was blown out of all proportion by a BBC which presented it as though these unfiltered kite flying ideas thrown out by individuals with no authority to implement them were about to become official Scottish Government policy.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf dismantles BBC claim about Scotland's NHS

If you have ever attended a brain storming session at work, you will understand the process, the problem to be addressed is presented, and those present are encouraged to air any ideas they can think of to tackle the problem, no matter how unrealistic, improbable, or indeed insane.

It's essentially a process of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, it most certainly does not mean that all the ideas aired are being seriously considered, far less does it mean that they are about to be implemented. That however, is not how the BBC chose to present it.

Viewers were left with the deliberately created impression that these ideas about charging for healthcare are actual policy changes being planned by the Scottish Government even though this flimsiest of stories was based on the draft minutes of a meeting of health service executives, a meeting at which it appears no government minister was even in attendance.

The next morning the non-story was naturally the topic of Call Kay on BBC Scotland. Adams dismissed the Health Secretary's denials saying: " Humza Yousaf of course has ruled it out, but still it's on the table." It was never on the table to begin with, it was one of those ideas thrown at the wall that rapidly fell off.

Health service executives do not have the political authority to make such profound changes to the nature of the health service, only the Scottish Government does, and the Scottish government and its ministers have never considered the introduction of charges for healthcare. As Humza Yousaf said this morning, claims to the contrary are 'complete baloney'.

It's difficult to escape the conclusion that this is not public service broadcasting, this is a carefully choreographed piece of political theatre with the aim of undermining the health secretary Humza Yousaf and providing a platform for the anti-independence parties from which to attack the Scottish government and force it on to the defensive.

This is a story which intends to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of Scottish voters that the NHS as we know it would remain in its current form in an independent Scotland. The fact that the story is without any merit is not relevant. It will then be followed by stories claiming that the Health Secretary has been 'forced to deny' that he plans to introduce charges for health services.

Despite there being no real substance to a story that was confected out of the thinnest of evidence, the BBC has given it considerable prominence, it not only appeared as the headline story on the BBC Scotland news, it also featured in the UK- wide BBC news, leaving people across the rest of the UK, where the NHS is in even worse shape than it is in Scotland, with the entirely false impression that Scotland is poised to introduce charges for health treatment.

It's a shockingly irresponsible piece of politicking masquerading as journalism. Older people throughout Scotland will be worried sick by the way the BBC has presented this. It's another step towards the demise of the BBC as a public service and its final transformation into an anti-independence tabloid.