RUTH McGourlay has worked for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as a laundry and domestic assistant for 24 years and loves her full-time job.

But at the age of 53, she says she has to take on extra shifts to make ends meet or pay for extras — like a trip to the hairdressers. Three or four times a month she starts work at 7am and instead of finishing at 3pm as usual, carries on until 9pm.

"Sometimes when I come in, I think 'wow, my legs are sore'," she says. "When I get home I'm zonked."

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It's got harder and harder to pay the bills in the last few years, she says, giving her little choice about joining the auxiliary staff bank.

"A few years back I would have maybe thought a couple of pounds extra would really help me out," she says.

"Now I'm chasing the money."

A car is her luxury, she says, and she makes sure she covers her rent and council tax. Holidays have to be planned on tight budgets 18 months in advance.

While she would like to have more time to spend with her dad, who she sees every morning, she's cheerful about her lot.

She says: "I am so, so lucky to have a full-time job. When you work in the health service and you see some poor souls you think: How lucky am I?"