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Local Health Concern

By Arthur Davies - Wed, 12th Mar 2003

Local Health Concern’s independent Candidate for Dunfermline East is Brian Stewart. Local Health Concern’s independent Candidate for Dunfermline West is David Wishart.
West Fife Hospital’s action group candidates are now officially registering to run as Independent MSP’s in the May 2003 Scottish Parliament elections

West Fife’s two hospital candidates, Brian Stewart and retired Scottish Office official David Wishart are now registering their very own party, which is to be named “Local Health Concern” this name will be used along with their official logo, a heart held within two hands, this was the logo used by Kidderminster MP Dr Richard Taylor, who has given the candidates permission to use the logo.

Dr Richard Taylor the Kidderminster candidate stood for election in support of action to prevent the downgrading of the local Kidderminster hospital, he overturned a large Labour majority at the last general election and won the seat as an Independent MP.
Local Health Concern’s independent Candidate for Dunfermline East is Brian Stewart.

“Local Health Concern” spokesperson, John Stewart told, it was important to register as a political party "Local Health Concern" because without registration the only information, that can be put on the election paper is "Independent".

As a registered party we can have up to six words e.g. Independent Keeping Acute Hospital Services Local". We have yet to fully agree the best six words but it will be similar.

We are all on some sort of learning curve, up to now we purely put a cross on a piece of paper and retired to bed to watch the announcement as to has been elected on television, but now we have to make it happen. Apart from the costs of registering, deposits for each candidate the cost of printing information, and election leaflets is very expensive.

There are around 54,089 electorate in Dunfermline West and 51,461 in Dunfermline East. At the election in 1999 there was an average turnout across both constituencies was 57%. In Dunfermline East, Labour won with 56% of votes with SNP second with 27% and in Dunfermline West, Labour won with 44% of votes with SNP second with 28%.

It is recognised that to win we need to at least take votes from both so we need to run a highly visible campaign which can`t start under the rules until 1st April.

Funding is being organised via the original action group set up by Letitia Murphy.

Anybody wishing to contribute can send it to:
The Treasurer, Fife Health Service Action Group, PO Box 29029, Dunfermline, KY11 4YD or
Payment direct to Bank of Scotland, FHSAG Account

The facts behind “Local Health Concern”
On the 17th February 2002 nearly 5,000 joined a protest march organised by Fife Health Services Action Group. The weather on the day was cold but dry and the people taking part were in no doubt that they weren’t going to lose their District General hospital without a fight.

A number of MSPs from all parties spoke at the assembly point at the end of the march, but despite all the talk nothing of consequence happened as a result.

On 7th March 2002 over 50 people from the Dunfermline area, some travelling by the hired bus and other by private car, registered their opposition to the downgrading of the Queen Margaret by lobbying parliament. Everyone now knows that even that didn’t result in any real supportive action by our elected MSPs .

Local Health Concern was inaugurated when, at a public meeting called by the Fife Health Service Action Group in January 2003, the decision was taken to try and put up at least one independent candidate at the May General Election. During the last three years the Action Group had organised Petitions, Protest March, Lobbying of the Scottish Parliament and had meetings with the Health Minister. The objective of these and other activities was to put pressure on Fife NHS Board to re‑examine its plan to transfer inpatient beds to Victoria in Kirkcaldy leaving the Queen Margaret as essentially a day clinic. Despite written and oral discussions with MSPs from all the existing parties, urging them to raise the matter in parliament, it did not happen.

So in December when the Health Minister in essence gave his approval to the Health Board`s plan the people of West Fife made it known that they would support Independent Hospital candidates in the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary Elections in May 2003.
David Wishart

People Not Politics
Local Health Concern will have a prime objective to retain acute hospital services at the Queen Margaret but acknowledges it is equally important to the people of East Fife to retain acute services at the Victoria, their local hospital. The people of North East Fife however consider their local hospital to be Ninewells in Dundee.

We are committed to do everything within our power to ensure that both Fife acute hospitals have a viable and sustainable future for all the people of Fife.

As Independent Candidates we will not be tied to the damaging inter Party Politics rhetoric and the need to follow party policy which takes little notice of the local public opinion or concerns. The fact that the public felt it necessary to put up Independent Candidates is recognition of the failure of elected MSPs to act decisively in support of retaining the Queen Margaret as a District General Hospital.

It seems that the election of Independent MSPs is the only message they understand.

More information on West Fife Health Watch can be found by going to their web-site, where members of the public can voice their opinions by accessing the on-line forum.
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