Friday, 13 March 2009
Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for the Glasgow region, has welcomed the fact that Glasgow residents, and members of the public across Scotland generally, could be given the chance to stand for election to health boards after the Scottish Parliament unanimously backed SNP Government proposals trial direct elections to health boards, before a nation-wide rollout is to be considered.
In a UK first, young people aged 16 and 17 will be able to take part in the polls, giving them a first taste of the electoral process and a say in how the NHS is run, under Scottish Government plans unanimously approved yesterday (Friday 13th March) by Parliament.
Mr Kidd believes this move is especially important to allow the public a greater say in the way in which their National Health Service is run. He believes that wrong-headed proposals are less likely to even get off the ground with direct elections to health boards.
For the first time members of the public will be able to play an active part in the decisions made by health boards, which in 2009-10 will spend a record £ 8.64 billion of taxpayers' money.
Two pilot elections will take place next year and will run for two years to test the full range of issues a board might face.
Commenting, Mr Kidd said: "I am delighted that MSPs have shown that they trust the people of Scotland, as I do, to help steer the direction of health services for the greater good. Indeed, this will mean that people in Glasgow, whose taxes pay for the NHS, can now have more say in the running of their local health services.
"These elections will have the added bonus of giving 16 and 17 year-olds their first taste of the democratic process which I hope will show them that their opinions do matter and can help shape public services.
"I hope that Nicola Sturgeon will consider NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde as a possible pilot location the scheme of direct elections to health boards.
"The passage of this legislation is an endorsement for the principle of democracy and accountability in local healthcare and I hope that this will see current health boards looking forward to welcoming new members and eager to participate in pilot projects."