I WRITE this while recuperating from a short stay in Warrington Hospital where I had my gall bladder removed.

My thanks go to all the surgical team who were excellent.

I’m very grateful that we still have our NHS.

Our NHS needs to be nurtured but the signs are that it will be further diminished.

The Chancellor’s recent announcement on NHS training falls massively short of what is needed given that the NHS faces a staffing crisis which has seen a 100,000 shortage in vacancies and unfilled posts across the health service.

Downing Street has admitted that at least £1 billion of the ‘new’ money for the NHS that it recently announced is not actually new but part of an ‘incentive deal’ which was already earmarked for hospitals but blocked by ministers until costs were cut and a surplus reported.

Capital spending by the Department of Health and Social Care has declined in real terms since 2010-11 with the maintenance blacklog in NHS trusts reaching £6 billion by the financial year 2017-8.

The £1.8 billion announced by government is less than a third of what is needed to plug that maintenance blacklog.

In addition, the government’s promise of £25 million for hospices and palliative care services will come from existing NHS budgets and may require cuts in other areas of the NHS to pay for it.

Sadly, this comes amid mounting concerns over the financial sustainability of the independent hospice care sector.

With 4.4 million patients waiting for operations and over 20,000 cancer patients waiting longer for treatment it is vital that the cuts to NHS budgets are reversed.

Meanwhile, the psycho-drama that is Brexit has taken a serious turn with the Prime Minister taking actions which are profoundly dangerous to our democracy.

Democracy never disappears with a bang: it disappears by small, incremental steps, each one justified by saying. ‘things need to be done, and people are blocking the way’.

I say that as someone who believes that we should implement the decision of the referendum, but in a representative democracy it is for Parliament to decide how that decision should be implemented.

Cabinet members who told us Prorogation would be an affront to parliamentary democracy, mad or a ridiculous suggestion are strangely silent now.

They should act on behalf of the country not their party.

As Clem Atlee once said, ‘If you begin to consider yourself solely responsible to a political party, you’re half-way to a dictatorship.’