Richard Renaut, service manager for general surgery, urology and paediatric surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital, is fighting North East Cambridgeshire for the Lib Dems.

They came third in the seat, which the Conservatives held from Labour in 1997, but Mr Renaut aims to build up his party's support in the constituency once represented by bigname Lib Dem Clement Freud.

'The key message is that the Liberal Democrats are the only party who are consistent advocates for better public service investment, ' he says.

This has been 'shown by free care of the elderly in Scotland and the abolition of eye and dental charges in Wales', where the Lib Dems are coalition partners.

If elected - 'we fight to win, ' he says cheerfully - he would like to be 'involved in the health select committee'. Rather than outright coalition with Labour, he favours 'constructive opposition'.

He wants to see 'more consensus politics rather than point-scoring' and is 'keen on a change of voting system'.

'Particularly with the Health and Social Care Bill going through the Lords, Lib Dem peers have shown the power of constructive opposition, ' in areas like the definition of care for elderly people, the role of community health councils and the health secretary's powers, he says.

Mr Renaut, a former president of Oxford University's Lib Dems who also worked in former leader Paddy Ashdown's office, became a career manager through the NHS management trainee scheme.

He spent two years as a primary care group manager in Huntingdonshire under chief executive Karen Bell, a past president of the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management, before moving on to Addenbrooke's.

The management training scheme offered 'the appeal of a general management job' in the public sector - working 'for the public good. I know it sounds cheesy', he says.

Also standing:

Retired NHS catering manager and community health council member Douglas Dale is having a crack at denting the 14,604 majority of Labour health select committee chair David Hinchliffe in Wakefield. The two share an interest in rugby league as well as the health service.