Over the past couple of months I have had a little more involvement with the NHS than I was hoping for. But it’s given me time to reflect. It almost feels unnecessary to say that the staff have without exception been really caring and attentive. 

But the sheer volume of people sat in the waiting rooms, and the pace at which the staff are forced to work, is testament to just how overwhelmed our health service really is. Funding for the NHS has been increasing, but at well below the scale of investment needed to bring it back up to the standards enjoyed by our close continental neighbours.

The statistics trotted out on an almost daily basis are telling: record numbers of people waiting more than 12 hours to get into A&E; record numbers waiting more than four weeks to see their GP; and every key target for cancer patients has been missed.

I’m afraid that the performance of both our local hospitals is even worse than these statistics for England suggest. In spite of the stoicism of the British public, the distress and anxiety that these statistics cause to patients and staff alike is painfully obvious.

Of course, the NHS is by no means the only public service suffering from real terms drop in investment over the past 14 years. And, equally bad, is the fact that private sector investment in public infrastructure like our transport or utilities, long touted by those on the right as the solution to our nation’s woes, has also not kept up with demand. You only need look at the scandalous behaviour of the water companies for a clue as to why.

So, in this context, hearing that our local MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer is planning millions of pounds of tax giveaways ahead of this year’s general election is infuriating. One of the options floated is to scrap inheritance tax.  It sounds tempting, for who would not want to pass on their capital to their children? But the proposal would in practice benefit just four per cent of our population – and not those most in need.

Yet the funds involved could, if the government so desired, fund the junior doctors pay claim in full four times over.  A cash injection on this sort of scale really would make a difference to our services.

I’m afraid that this sort of cynical populist approach seems to be typical of this government.  The fact that they are looking to pare back public services further still in order to fund their naked pre-election bribes reveals a peculiar sense of priorities.

Put simply, they seem determined to put their own Party interests before that of the British public.

It’s time for change.