When I was out canvassing a few weeks ago, I met an elderly woman living in Knaphill who said she had had to wait months for a knee operation.

Last week, I met a young couple from Goldsworth Park who said they often put off trying to get an appointment because it was too difficult and because — multiple times when they had finally managed to get one and arranged time off work to go — the appointments had been cancelled at the last minute.

A couple of days ago, I knocked on the door of a woman in Heathlands whose son had had to wait four years for cancer treatment. I also met a father after the recent hustings event who was distressed at how complicated he is finding it to get his very young daughter the mental health support she needs as she tries to cope with the stress of having had cancer as an infant.

After nine years of Conservative rule — and five years of Tory/Lib Dem coalition rule before that — the NHS is broken. Patients and their families have lost faith that our healthcare system will be there for them when they need it most.

Clinical staff are burnt out from overwork in poor conditions. Junior doctors are on strike due to pay levels that are not keeping pace with the skyrocketing cost of living.

It’s completely unsustainable — and our NHS will continue to worsen if nothing is done.

Back in 1948, Labour had a plan to set up the NHS, which we did. In 1997, we had a plan to reform the NHS, which we did. Now we have a plan to fix the NHS — to properly fix it, not just put sticking plasters over the cracks — and we will do that too. Here’s how:

We will go after non-domiciled tax avoiders and redirect that money back into our health service. We will use it to add 40,000 new evening and weekend appointments each week, with more care delivered in local neighbourhoods.

We will take mental health seriously, reducing waiting lists and ensuring earlier intervention (particularly for young people). We will recruit 8,500 more mental health staff to treat children and adults within the first parliamentary term.

We will deliver a dentistry rescue plan, adding 700,000 more urgent appointments so people can visit a quality dentist when they need one.

And we will tackle the growing social care crisis by setting up a brand-new National Care Service. It will provide joined-up care, and aim to help people live independently in their homes for as long as possible. We will also provide a fair wage for carers and support for unpaid carers.

Health is at the foundation of everything we do, so we need a healthcare system that helps us and our families to live well. The NHS is a jewel in the crown of our country — and Labour is determined to protect it.