All too often, the SNP’s focus is on the central belt. They forget about rural areas and communities in Ayrshire where the NHS is struggling to recruit and retain GPs, consultants and support staff.

Earlier this month, I asked the Scottish Government what steps they’re taking to increase the number of GPs in more rural areas of the country.

I didn't get a commitment to support and invest in NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Instead, the answer I received was that they would publish a recruitment strategy by the end of 2024.

That's nowhere near good enough.

The number of GPs has decreased under the SNP and, as a result, the public are already waiting too long for face-to-face appointments. We needed a better strategy years ago.

The answer I got was from Michael Matheson, who has now resigned as health secretary in disgrace. So who knows what will even happen with this strategy now.

The problems in our NHS are wider and deeper than the lengthy waits for a GP appointment.

The SNP Government has also delayed the construction of a new national treatment centre in Ayrshire. Reports say that the Carrick Glen orthopaedic centre on Dalmellington Road will not progress over the next year.

This decision is yet another blow to residents across Ayrshire who will now face longer waits for essential treatment.

Humza Yousaf pledged to reduce NHS waiting times and this treatment centre was supposed to be key to achieving this. 

Now that it’s paused, how are we supposed to believe anything the First Minister says? It looks like this will be another broken promise from the SNP.

People across Ayrshire deserve better. They urgently need to invest to support and improve frontline NHS services so patients can get appointments and treatment when they need it. 

Now that Michael Matheson has resigned, we have a new Health Secretary. Top of their priority list should be recruiting more GPs. Our NHS is already in crisis. There is no more time to waste.