Drumheller will have a say on future health care policy. Local criminal lawyer, Hugh Sommerville has been appointed to the new Alberta Health Services board.
 
"From what I understand, there was an opening for a legally trained person from a rural area who had significant high level public interest board experience," he told 99.5 Drum FM. "Corporate boards have a very different way of approaching organizational management and, quite frankly, that I think may have been one of the problems with the last board."
 
The last so-called 'super board' appointed by the former Conservative government, ended up being disbanded after it clashed with the health minister over public policy. Sommerville doesn't see that happening with this group.
 
"In a normal corporate board they are elected by and responsible to the shareholders," he explained. "The shareholders here are the people of Alberta and they haven't elected the board, they've elected the government. So, the board has a level of responsibility to the minister because that's who the public chooses."
 
Sommerville has had a lot of recent experience with the health care system as a result of family health matters, but he maintains it was something more important that made him decide to accept the board appointment.
 
"The health care system is so big and so important to the people of Alberta that any chance to make even a small contribution is just too big an opportunity to miss," he stated. "It's a real pain in the butt to drive to Edmonton for meetings, but if I'm not prepared to do it, how are they going to get rural opinions?"
 
Former Edmonton Journal publisher, Linda Hughes will head up the new health board, which will report directly to the Minister of Health.
 
The new board members are:
 
    Linda Hughes (Chair)
    Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn (Vice-Chair)
    David Carpenter
    Hugh D. Sommerville
    Marliss Taylor
    Glenda Yeates
 

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