Members of the public will have the chance to stand for election to health boards in Scotland from next year, after the Scottish Parliament passed the necessary legislation.

The new system will be piloted in two health board areas - still to be decided - with elections held next year. The pilots will last for two years and there will be an evaluation and further parliamentary scrutiny before any wider roll-out.

Successful candidates will get the same remuneration as appointed members, currently around £7,500 annually, and, for the first time in the UK, 16 and 17-year-olds will be allowed to take part in the polls.

Some health boards and other organisations, including the British Medical Association, had warned that the proposed elections would be expensive and claimed they would not be the best way to improve engagement.

But health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said elected health boards would give back power to local people: “They represent a major boost for democracy and accountability.”