Friday, 13 March 2009

Gibson welcomes health board vote

News release
Immediate release

Everyone over the age of 16 will have the right to vote in elections to the health board after the Scottish Government policy was unanimously passed by the Parliament.

The vote will see a number of members elected to health boards around the country.

It will be the first time that people can seek election to the board which will spend over £8 billion in the next year.

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson said….

"This is very welcome move and a great boost to local democracy. It has long been a gripe that health boards were unrepresentative and a closed shop. Now the SNP Government has opened it up and made health boards more accountable to the people they serve."

"This change could be most keenly felt in areas which feel marginalised. For example it became clear in Caithness during the campaign to keep the maternity unit open that there was the health Board had no representation from the County. The SNP's plans will now allow for a greater chance for boards to have a greater geographic make up."

"It will also make sure that the board cannot ride rough shod over community opinion. It will help reenergize public participation in local democracy. In the past successive Governments have shrunk local Government and centralised it this step from the SNP is a reversal of that trend instead of taking power away from local communities it is giving power back. That is a step in the right direction."

"It is also a first for 16 and 17 year olds as they will have the chance to vote in these elections. This will give them an early start in the democratic process and a stake in their communities. Hopefully this early engagement will help take a greater interest in both local and national democracy."


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