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Written Statement - NHS Financial Performance 2013-14

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

I am pleased to be able to confirm today that despite the significant service and financial pressures facing the NHS in Wales and the increasing demands being placed on the Welsh Government’s health and social services budget, expenditure for 2013-14 was successfully managed within the overall resources approved by the National Assembly for Wales.

Additional funding of £200m was provided during 2013-14 to help health boards respond to the recommendations outlined in the Francis report and to support sustainable improvement as a new planning and financial management regime was introduced in NHS Wales.

I have said before that the implementation of a new planning framework signals a new era for service planning and financial management within the NHS.

The NHS Finance (Wales) Act 2014, which came into force on April 1, 2014 gives health boards the flexibility to manage their finances over a three-year period and it provides them with a real opportunity to plan more prudently and avoid inappropriate short-term decisions being taken at the end of the financial year.  

I will be issuing a separate written statement to update Assembly Members about the three-year integrated medium-term planning arrangements for health boards and NHS trusts in Wales.

However, as part of the new arrangements, I have been clear that we will not continue to provide additional funding to organisations which do not have robust plans in place and continue to incur deficits year on year.

The final audited accounts for health boards and NHS trusts are being laid in the National Assembly by the Auditor General for Wales. They include three – Cardiff and Vale, Hywel Dda and Powys – which did not achieve their statutory target to maintain expenditure within their resource allocation. The accounts of these three health boards are therefore being qualified.  

These three organisations overspent their individual resource allocations in 2013-14 and this must be addressed.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has a robust and approved plan going forward and the Welsh Government is continuing to work with Hywel Dda University Health Board to ensure they develop robust plans to improve service and financial planning for the future.

The Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery, led by Sir Paul Williams, has recognised the issues facing Powys teaching Health Board and has made recommendations for the future.
As the independent Nuffield report highlighted on June 17,  the NHS must transform the way it provides care to meet demand and financial pressures and ensure its resources are used effectively and efficiently. Improving health board and NHS trust planning arrangements is part of this process.