Every so often something we hear brings home how the NHS has the power to save and change lives.

Our headlines are usually full of stories of the challenges facing the service. From waiting lists to response times to A&E departments.

But the story of Martin Padfield, from Ebbw Vale, reminds us that even under the greatest strain the NHS retains the power to shape our futures.

Martin has been an amputee for 24 years but for the first time he has now been able to join in with his son's football team - thanks to Welsh Government-funded specialist Microprocessor Controlled Prosthetic knees.

Martin is one of 80 people across Wales who have had their mobility transformed by Microprocessor Controlled Prosthetic Knees since the £700,000 Welsh Government fund was launched two years ago.

The funding was split across the three artificial limb and appliance centres (ALAC) located in Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham.

MPKs are a type of prosthetic knee, used by people who have lost a leg at or above the knee. It improves people’s quality of life by giving the best mobility and function possible.

The knee uses computer technology to provide increased stability, enable safer walking and constantly monitors the user’s pattern of walking depending on their weight and speed – making it easier for them to navigate slopes, stairs, and uneven surfaces.

Having the MPK means that Martin can once again join in a lot more with football coaching, and do more than just standing on the sidelines and talking.

Hearing stories like Martin’s highlights what an immense difference the NHS can make to every aspect of our lives and why the Welsh Government is committed to investing in technology, services and people in order to achieve an NHS of the future and provide the best care and support to the people of Wales.

The Welsh Labour Government will always invest in and protect health and social care. We understand that these services are vital and life-changing. That is why we spend 15 per cent more per person on health and social care than in England and why Wales will increase funding for the NHS by more than four per cent, compared to less than one per cent in England.

Devolution means that different choices and decisions have been made, based on the needs of people in Wales. And we should be encouraged that recent actions taken by the Welsh Government have led to a number of positive improvements to our health service.

For the third month in a row the overall waiting list number has come down and the number of pathways waiting more than two years for treatment also fell again, for the 22nd consecutive month.

This is a remarkable achievement by our hard-working NHS staff considering it included a period of industrial action as well as the usual pressures on the system seen in January.