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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Health PR man job letter leaked
PR consultant Max Clifford
PR consultant Max Clifford has been involved in high profile and controversial stories
Western Isles Health Board's new press officer has said even PR consultant Max Clifford could not improve the board's image if damaging leaks continue.

Newspaper columnist John MacLeod made the comment after a confidential paper he wrote to land his new job was leaked to the media.

It includes criticism of local politicians and said mothers-to-be expected a "pain-free" labour.

Mr MacLeod said the views were his own and not those of the board.

Shortly after writing the 13-page paper, Mr MacLeod was offered the press office job.

I have great respect and regard for all expectant mothers and I was making a point on the culture, how the working environment has changed
John MacLeod

Mr MacLeod said his document - Western Isles Health Board: Key Message For A Change Environment - A Public Affairs Strategy - was circulated to five members of the board.

It was later leaked to the press.

Mr MacLeod told BBC Scotland he would advise the board that Max Clifford could not "do a thing" for its image if leaks continued.

Mr Clifford has represented people caught up in high profile stories, most recently Tracey Temple who had an affair with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Mr MacLeod's paper outlines the difficulties it faces in delivering a high standard of care, but also contains criticism of local politicians and former board employees.

He comments on the different expectations of what the health service can deliver today to those of adults living before World War II.

'Pandered to'

In his strategy, Mr MacLeod said: "Take an example. Ours is a day where a mother-to-be expects to be consulted and pandered to at every point of antenatal care and final confinement.

"Many expect the labour process to be pain-free and that, as of God-given right, the child will be born alive, immaculate and healthy."

Mr MacLeod said that this was a comment on a climate where people look for someone to blame.

He told BBC Scotland: "I have great respect and regard for all expectant mothers and I was making a point on the culture, how the working environment has changed."

Mr MacLeod said he was working for the health board on a freelance basis and would continue his newspaper column, but on the understanding he does not write about the health board or Western Isles politics.

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