Wed 19 Nov 2008
Health Boards Bill will Promote Openness and Transparency in
UNISON Scotland will today (Wed) urge the Scottish Parliament
Health Committee to back direct elections to health boards. Scottish
Organiser Dave Watson is giving evidence to MSPs and will explain
why electing health board members will help the public have greater
confidence in how the NHS delivers for ordinary people.
Dave said: "The Health Boards (Membership and Elections)
(Scotland) Bill should contribute to an overdue change of culture
in health boards, from an attitude of' we know best' to one of
openness and consultation.
"The proposed mix of elections and appointment of members
will provide greater democratic accountability, while retaining
staff and specialist expertise."
UNISON rejects criticisms of the cost of direct elections, pointing
out that 'democracy costs' and it is small in comparison with
health board expenditure of nearly £8 billion.
Dave added: "Direct elections won’t on their own improve
public confidence in the NHS, but along with health board moves
to properly engage with the public at all levels, they should
produce a step change in culture.
"Through high profile campaigns in recent years about hospital
closures and the availability of treatments on the NHS, members
of the public have demonstrated they want to be part of the process
of planning local health care.
"We hope MSPs will give the Bill their full support."
Note to Editors: UNISON's response to the Health Committee
about the Bill is at: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/healthboards.html
For further information please contact: Dave Watson, Scottish
Organiser 07958 122 409 (m)