Some were outraged that the local Health Board are advertising for volunteers to help at the RAH.

Not that they were to be used as triage nurses, or for suturing wounds, but for the more mundane tasks of reassuring patients, accompanying them to X-ray dept. and such like. Volunteering is a good thing, and fortunately many of us are engaged as volunteers with one organisation or another.

Currently, you will see volunteers staffing the WRVS shop in the RAH foyer, but they are also engaged as chaplains too and do useful service. So go ahead and volunteer if you are of a mind to do so.

Why then is Labour making a great play about the NHS? Truth is that the vast majority of us view the NHS as possibly the most important of our public services.

We sympathise with the doctors and nurses and generally fight their corner in the event of criticism or disputes. But it’s become a convenient political football for the Labour Party, and for the new leader of the ‘Scottish Branch’.

Our local MP declares that he will create an extra 1,000 nursing posts if he becomes First Minister — irrespective of the number currently employed in Scotland at the time, or on top of any increase announced by the SNP.

That’s just silly rhetoric. Especially when he claimed that the cost of the additional nurses would be met by wealthy house-owners in London. That pronouncement has already caused him problems with his old London Labour Establishment cronies. As it is, about 85 per cent of the NHS budget is consumed by salaries so just think what another 1,000 employees would do? About 10 per cent of the NHS in England and Wales is already privatised. Is it any surprise that the Scottish Government insist that is not going to happen in Scotland?

Consequently, John Swinney has recently announced a further increase to the NHS budget in Scotland to over £12 billion – more than ever before. Could we do with additional nurses, doctors, specialists and consultants? Of course we could. But to provide them the Scottish Government would need to agree a reduction in other areas, for example, the number of police officers we currently employ at a cost of about £900million annually.

People have memories of the NHS in Scotland under Labour control. It was not exactly a success story. So the latest poll about the NHS comes as no surprise showing that 42 per centof voters trust the current Scottish Government to run the NHS while only 20 per cent trust Labour to do it. But enough of polls, which all look good for the SNP. The poll of polls is, after all, the election.

Jim Murphy MP and his Labour colleagues have 15 weeks to turn the tide of opinion. But the SNP cannot afford to be complacent. They need to continually work at reducing costs while maintaining and improving services. Socially just policies are what the people of Scotland need and what they deserve.

We can’t sit back and ignore the fact that the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ is increasing despite the best efforts of our Government.

Our local authority also has a responsibility to invest a greater proportion of their budget in areas of deprivation, and in those who live there, that all can have aspirations of success – and equality of opportunity in health, education and employment. We will see what their budget reveals this week.