I was reminded of the maxim that it is people and not buildings that are most important when I attended the official opening of The Grange Hospital near Cwmbran a few weeks ago.

That it is not to say that the £350 million facility is not impressive – it most certainly is and is a credit to all involved in the project, particularly construction firm Laing O’Rourke who completed it ahead of schedule last year to provide much-needed hospital capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is not without its faults however. I know there are teething problems which have been brought to my attention by the Royal College of Physicians and travel to and from the site is difficult for those without a car and living on the outskirts of the health board’s territory.

I will be making further representations on these matters in order to improve the situation for constituents across South Wales East.

Putting those matters to one side, conversations with NHS staff at the official opening underlined just how important an organisation’s people are.

It also reminded me just how incredible NHS staff are as well.

Before and after the official speeches, I had the pleasure of speaking to several people including the chief executive of the health board, the hospital’s medical director, a consultant, a psychiatric nurse, a podiatrist and one of the porters responsible for kitting out rooms with beds and other essential items.

The golden thread between all these conversations was the dedication, passion and compassion NHS workers have for their patients and for serving the community. It emphasised what I have believed for some time; the NHS’s greatest asset is its staff. We know this because, time and time again over the last 18 months, we have seen the sacrifices they have made.

This selflessness will continue be tested once again by coronavirus it seems. Despite the vaccination programme damping down the impact of coronavirus and the severity of its side effects in those inoculated, transmission rates are increasing throughout Wales. With schools now starting back up after the summer holidays, the predictions are that the R number will get worse before it gets better. We can help our NHS staff and ourselves by getting vaccinated, not getting complacent about coronavirus and continuing to take precautions to minimise the risk of spread. I think we owe our exhausted NHS staff that much.