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Welsh Government will read Assembly Committee report into finances of NHS Wales 'with interest'

The Welsh Government says it will read a new report into the finances of NHS Wales "with interest."

The report by the Public Accounts Committee found that NHS Wales finances are improving, but "cannot yet be given a clean bill of health."

We thank the Committee for their work, and will read the report with interest. We are encouraged by their opening remarks that much progress has been made.

In addition, as the new NHS Finance Wales Bill comes into force in April this year, we know that health boards will be able to deliver better integrated service, workforce and financial planning.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

'Significant concerns' for NHS Wales in new report

A new report by a Committee in the National Assembly says the state of NHS Wales finances are improving, but "cannot yet be given a clean bill of health."

The Public Accounts Committee report also expressed "significant concerns" about the controls in place to assist Health Boards plan more flexibly.

The funding of NHS Wales remains a huge challenge and while significant efforts have been made by those working with the Welsh health service to make the immediate savings needed to break even, there is a still a great deal more that needs to be done.

The Committee welcomes some of the progress made by the Welsh Government in addressing health finances, particularly with regards to more flexible arrangements, as that is something we have called for ourselves in previous reports.

However, we have significant concerns about the controls in place to assist Health Boards in planning more flexibly, and we want to see more stringent accountability of senior managers and greater transparency regarding financial planning.

It was disturbing that a simple request for up to date figures regarding NHS Wales' financial position was not met for two months afterwards. We believe the Welsh Government should publish monthly financial updates for NHS Wales in a further commitment to transparency and accountability.

Finally, the Committee believes that bailing out health boards, most recently to the tune of £200 million, simply isn't sustainable.

People need to have faith that their health services are being delivered effectively, within their means and without drastic measures such as surgery cancellations and closing wards to temporarily balance the books.

We urge the Welsh Government to take on board our recommendations.

– Darren Millar AM, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

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'Problems remain' in NHS Wales finances, says report

A new report says NHS Wales finances still need to be improved Credit: PA

The state of NHS Wales finances are improving but cannot yet be given a clean bill of health, according to a new report from a National Assembly for Wales Committee.

The Public Accounts Committee has welcomed Welsh Government moves towards more flexible financial planning, but is not convinced that the introduction of the new system has been sufficiently well planned to ensure it is fit for purpose.

It believes Health Boards should be provided with more assistance in developing financial plans and that there should be clear information available concerning the criteria by which they are being assessed.

The Committee was also concerned that a request for up to date information regarding NHS Wales' financial position was not met for two months, leaving members to wonder whether the Welsh Government had a sufficient handle on the situation.

Confusion also surrounded the purpose of extra funds provided to health boards in two separate payments totalling £200 million.

The Welsh Government indicated that the funding was not a "bail out" for health boards who were struggling with a combined deficit of £212 million, but the Committee concluded that the in-year payments helped to reinforce poor financial planning in the Welsh NHS.