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Wed 19 Nov 2008

Health Boards Bill will Promote Openness and Transparency in NHS

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)