Health Board elections
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon today welcomed Scotland's first ever elected health board members to their new posts.
A total of 10 new members in Dumfries and Galloway and 12 in Fife have been elected to serve on the health boards in their local areas.
The results were announced late last night following a postal ballot.
In a Scottish and UK first, people aged 16 and 17 had the right to vote and to stand as candidates.
Ms Sturgeon said:
"I want to congratulate all the new members on their success at the elections. The populations of Fife and Dumfries and Galloway have made their choice and it is these new members, along with the other health board members that they will now look to, to shape and deliver the valuable NHS services that we all depend on.
"Elected health boards will give power back to local people. They represent a major boost for democracy and accountability. This is the single biggest step we can take to re-energise public engagement with the health service.
"We want an NHS that is truly mutual, where patients are not just partners in their own care but where local communities are at the heart of local decision-making.
"Difficult decisions will no doubt still have to be taken but with this kind of guaranteed voice, we will ensure decisions are taken with the full involvement of local people as co-owners of the NHS."
The Health Boards (Membership and Elections) Act was passed unanimously in Parliament in March last year. The two elected health board pilots will run in parallel with two 'non-statutory' alternatives (in Lothian and Grampian) which will aim to test different ways of broadening involvement in health board decisions.
The health board election pilots will run for a minimum of two years. An evaluation and further Parliamentary scrutiny will follow before any wider rollout. The pilots, which are costing around £2.5 million, are being funded from central Scottish Government budgets.