When Labour came to power one of its pledges was to improve the National Health Service.

But the promise has a hollow ring for many Sussex people, including Lilian and John Futcher, who are awaiting hospital appointments.

The couple received a most unwelcome Christmas present whey they were told their appointments had been put back by up to six months.

The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath said the delay was a result of new rules on junior doctors' working hours.

The Government said doctors were overworked and wanted to cut their hours. An honourable gesture, but where does that leave the patients?

Out on a limb, that's where.

Perhaps messrs Ivor Caplin, David Lepper and Des Turner, Labour's Sussex MPs, might wish to step in as a matter of urgency and offer the Futchers an explanation.