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Auditor reveals three health boards overspent budgets

Three health boards which overspent their budgets have been given an unprecedented 'qualified' sign-off by the Auditor General for Wales.

The boards are Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Powys Teaching Health Board.

Two other boards - Betsi Cadwaladr and Cwm Taf - only managed to stay within budget by receiving extra funds from the Welsh Government.

The Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas, said:

I have today signed off the last of the 10 NHS accounts for 2013-14 – three of which I have qualified. This is unprecedented in Wales and something which I will be commenting on in much more detail in the autumn when I publish my annual report into NHS finances.

– Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales


£50m to 'help reduce the pressure on Welsh NHS'

Funding has been allocated across Wales. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Details have been unveiled of a major £50m investment in NHS services.

The Welsh Government hopes it will help ease pressure on the health service by preventing unnecessary admissions and delayed discharges from hospital and residential care.

It says the Intermediate Care Fund will invest in services that support older people, particularly the frail elderly, to maintain their independence and remain in their own home.

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.

'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.


Labour AM says Ann Clwyd is denigrating Welsh NHS

Ann Clwyd's latest criticisms of the Welsh NHS for sometimes giving poor care to patients provoked an angry response from one Labour backbencher in the Senedd.

Lynne Neagle AM said such cases, which included the treatment of Ms Clwyd's husband who died in hospital in Cardiff, did not give the Cynon Valley MP "the right to denigrate the entire Welsh NHS".

Ann Clwyd 'questions' future devolution because of NHS concerns in Wales

Labour MP Ann Clwyd says she's still receiving letters of concern from patients in Wales who've had bad experiences in Welsh hospitals. The Cynon Valley MP led an inquiry for the UK Government into the handling of complaints in the English NHS.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate she said Welsh health chiefs also need to learn lessons from the Francis review into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust. And she said concerns about the NHS in Wales calls into question the prospect of giving the Welsh Government any further powers.

Sort out English NHS failings before criticising Wales Labour tells Health Secretary

Labour's Shadow Health Secretary says the UK Government she 'spend more time' sorting out problems in the NHS in England and less 'pointing the finger at Wales.' Andy Burnham was responding to criticism of the Welsh NHS during a debate on a review into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust.

Welsh NHS problems affecting England says UK Health Secretary

The UK Health Secretary has claimed that 'failures in care in Wales are now having a direct impact on NHS services in England.'

During a debate on the Francis Review into failings at Mid Staffs NHS Trust, Jeremy Hunt urged Labour's front bench team to put pressure on colleagues in the Welsh Government to act.

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