Nye Bevan, the great socialist Minister of Health in the Labour Government which established the NHS after the Second World War, once said it would “last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it”.

The NHS is 75-years-old this year, so now is as good a time as any to reflect on how the service is running and its future.

The sad truth is it faces significant challenges. These have been worsened by the Scottish Government’s failure to deliver a proper NHS workforce strategy or necessary investment across the service.

We see the impact these pressures have on local services across Ayrshire and Arran. More than 43,000 patients are waiting for a new outpatient appointment, with more than 3,000 having waited over 12 months.

Nearly 1,000 patients have waited more than 18 months for treatment. Almost 60,000 patients are on an NHS waiting list, representing a 19 per cent increase in the last two years.

Many patients are forced to travel miles for treatment due to inadequate service provision. There are over 70,000 delayed discharge bed days across NHS Ayrshire and Arran, including over 22,000 in North Ayrshire.

This means tens of thousands of patients can’t leave hospital because their care support or accommodation isn’t ready or available.

And although cancer remains the biggest killer in Scotland, 80 per cent of patients across NHS Ayrshire and Arran were treated within 62 days, still far short of the Scottish Government’s 95 per cent target.

However, it’s not just in outcomes for patients that we have issues – there’s also a growing workforce crisis.

There are over 6,000 nursing and midwifery vacancies across the country, with the Royal College of Nursing recently warning of a 13 per cent increase in the number of nurses leaving the vocation.

Audit Scotland has also warned the Scottish Government is unlikely to meet its own recruitment targets of 800 new GPs and 1,000 mental health support staff by 2027.

Meanwhile, junior doctors have had enough. They’re set to strike in the coming weeks due to the Scottish Government’s failure to deliver a fair pay rise and address concerns around pay restoration.

Humza Yousaf presided over this crisis as Health Secretary and has now failed to come forward with any solutions to address it as First Minister.

While he recently marked 100 days as First Minister, patients in Ayrshire and Arran and across Scotland faced the consequences of another 100 days of the Scottish Government’s mismanagement of our NHS.

That’s why over recent months my Scottish Labour colleagues and I have been urging the Scottish Government to address issues like growing waiting lists, delayed discharge, longer ambulance waiting times and inadequate workforce planning.

We’ll continue to call for the investment needed, but I also hope readers, like me, will continue to fight for the principle of a health service free at the point of need for all.

Staff and patients are united in their support for retaining a universal healthcare service. But if we want the NHS to thrive over the next 75 years and beyond, the Scottish Government needs to step up with investment.