A chance for Caithness to have a permanent voice on health matters was how SNP MSP Rob Gibson summed up new Government proposals to have democratically elected health boards.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon launched a twelve week consultation with the public over the idea of elected health boards this week and Mr Gibson said that areas like Caithness would benefit if the proposal was to be agreed…..
"During the recent maternity campaign it was pointed out that not one person from Caithness was on the Highland Health Board. Therefore the views of the County couldn't be articulated directly at the highest level."
"That situation could now change by getting a Caithness person elected. However, should the board be open to direct elections from the public there would be a strong change of having at least one representative from the North permanently on the board."
"I think elections to the health board would generate real interest in Caithness and other areas out with the centre. Areas like Caithness and North West Sutherland have in the past been the first targeted when it comes to health cuts. Therefore they understand more than most the importance of having a voice at the top table so they will make sure that they are represented."
"This is a further example of the SNP offering power back to local communities. The new government is setting out to end the closed shop approach to appointing members exercised by Lib/Lab Executive. I hope that other parties, when this issue comes to a vote, will back local democracy as opposed to political appointments."
"I would urge those with an interest across the Far North to respond to the consultation and make their views known, and I will look forward the proposals being fully debated and best means chosen to represent local wishes."
Note to editor:
Consultation on directly elected health boards can be accessed at: