AS hundreds of people were lining up in Cowdenbeath this week to sign a card celebrating 70 years of the NHS, Fife MSP Alex Rowley warned that services are under immense pressure and called on NHS Fife to address what he called ‘worrying levels of vacancies’ across hospital and community services.

Mr Rowley who took his campaign onto the High Street said: “The NHS was the greatest creation of the last century and the support for the NHS remains very high across our communities.

"If we want to celebrate its centenary, then we need action to address the underfunding and we need proper leadership to plan for the future".

The Labour MSP was scathing of the Conservative Government at Westminster saying that ‘failed austerity’ had been so damaging but also said the SNP Scottish Government had ‘spectacularly failed’ to future plan staffing and services.

He said: “All the evidence shows and all the experienced staff agree we need more investment in our NHS and is why we must reject failed Tory austerity and failed Tory attempts at privatisation as both are having a real negative threat on our NHS.

"The other major area of failure is that of the Edinburgh Government to plan and ensure we have enough trained and qualified nurses, doctors and specialist consultants".

Highlighting the difficulties in GP recruitment across Fife he continued: “People in most communities have experienced that it is more and more difficult to get an appointment with your GP.

"Some practices are finding it more difficult to maintain the patient care and support required and is why NHS Fife must set out what they are doing to recruit, where they have the greatest problems and what help they need from government”.

He concluded: “I want to see dialogue between Government and the NHS Board about the extent of the gaps in services and how they are going to work together to address these issues.

"It is our NHS, people are proud of the NHS and all the staff who work in it and it is now time to demand that Government gets its act together when it comes to our health service.

All the surgeries in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area are short of GPs and waiting times for appointments runs into weeks.

However, the Scottish Government says that it is working hard to try and increase numbers of GPs available to local surgeries.

Our photograph shows people signing the NHS Happy Birthday Card in Cowdenbeath.