Welsh NHS faces cuts despite more cash

11 Nov 99
Welsh health authorities and trusts face another year of deep cuts in services, despite receiving an extra £14m from the National Assembly.

12 November 1999

At the end of last week, finance secretary Edwina Hart proposed to spend an additional £14m over the next two years, on top of the £1bn extra the NHS is due to receive between 1999/2000 and 2001/02.

However, the local health service is in dire financial trouble. According to the National Audit Office, accumulated deficits could be as high as £40m – and the new money will make little difference.

Health secretary Jane Hutt told managers at the NHS Confederation's Welsh conference last weekend that the Assembly would not bail them out. They would have to continue to make savings to cut their deficits.

'We cannot afford to continue to increase allocations while also bailing out organisations which are staying afloat only with loans and brokerage,' she said.

'It is essential that all NHS organisations in deficit redouble their efforts to restore financial balance.'

Managers were concerned. Richard Thomas, director of the NHS Confederation in Wales, said: 'There are still many questions unanswered and the devil will be in the detail of the final budget.

'Our main concern is the reference to the need for further cash-releasing efficiency savings at a time when the health service in Wales is experiencing major financial pressures and patient demands and expectations continue to grow.'

Hutt has agreed to meet the Confederation to discuss its concerns.


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