As the weather turns and the nights begin to draw in, with colder weather approaching it is clear to me that the most pressing issue in our country right now is that of the ongoing crisis in our NHS.

In the Scottish Parliament I have been raising the fact that we have seen the longest ever ambulance wait times ever recorded in this country.

Ambulances have been queuing up at hospitals like the QEUH; the Red Cross are supporting our ambulance workers; the army is being drafted in to drive ambulances; and taxi drivers are being asked to help.

To hear the story of Gerard Brown, the 65-year-old man from Glasgow who died after waiting 40 hours for an ambulance, is unimaginable. We must do better.

Of course the pandemic is putting pressure on our NHS but these issues have been building for years. Medical leaders like the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have been telling us that there is not enough being done to support our NHS – both from the SNP in Holyrood and the Tories in Westminster who leave staff struggling day in and day out.

What we need from the government is a clear plan for winter and then beyond which will increase capacity and retain current staff by giving our NHS heroes the support they deserve.

Scottish Labour wants to build the alternative across the UK and Scotland – creating a country that works for its citizens and looks after everyone.

At the Labour Party conference in Brighton last week I saw how Labour is changing to be better for all. I know we have not always been good enough in the past, but with the leadership of both Keir Starmer at UK level and Anas Sarwar here in Scotland, Labour is focussed on winning back trust and building an alternative vision for what a truly progressive UK and Scotland could be.

Not the small and inward-looking politics of both the Tories and the SNP, but a country built upon fairness, security and togetherness with economic measures including a proper living wage of at least £10 an hour, first-day sick pay, the end of zero-hour contracts, and massive investment in green policies to tackle climate change and create the jobs of tomorrow.

I have left Brighton energised and ready to build the alternative here in the west of Scotland and that starts with a focus on rebuilding our NHS and restoring the thousands of beds that have been cut. I can assure you this will be my priority as winter approaches.