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Written Statement - NHS Financial Performance 2014-15

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

The accounts of all 10 NHS Wales organisations for 2014-15 have been audited by the Auditor General for Wales and have been laid before the National Assembly.

The accounts have been prepared under the new NHS finance regime, which became operational on April 1, 2014 and all received a clean audit opinion in 2014-15 from the Auditor General for Wales.

In 2014-15, the Welsh Government provided additional funding of £200m to NHS organisations in response to the financial challenges identified in the Nuffield Trust report A Decade of Austerity in Wales?, which was published in June 2014 and a further £40m to help the NHS respond to the significant winter pressures experienced across the UK.

Previous written statements published in May and June 2014, outlined that the new 3-year finance duty was a fundamental component of the new NHS planning framework introduced to improve service planning and financial management across the NHS in Wales. As part of these new arrangements I decided organisations would not have to repay brokerage or deficits incurred under the previous financial regime.

Following the completion of the 2014-15 accounts process, 4 health boards and the 3 NHS trusts operated within their budgets, breaking even in the first of the 3 years over which their financial performance will be judged.

However, despite the introduction of the new regime and the additional funding provided in 2014-15, 3 health boards – Betsi Cadwaladr, Cardiff and Vale and Hywel Dda university health boards – did not manage within their allocated resources in 2014-15.

When the new NHS 3-year financial regime began in 2014, I was clear that NHS organisations which overspent their allocations would be held responsible. The 3 health boards have not, therefore, received additional funding to cover their overspends.

Betsi Cadwaladr and Cardiff and Vale university health boards received some additional in-year cash support from the Welsh Government in March to enable them to meet their normal cash commitments, including payroll and payments to HMRC. This was provided as part of the year-end arrangements and has subsequently been recovered in 2015-16.

In line with the new financial regime and statutory duties, Betsi Cadwaladr, Cardiff and Vale and Hywel Dda university health boards will be required to draw up plans to recover their overspends in subsequent years. This must be done in a way which will not prejudice the continued provision of safe, sustainable and quality healthcare for their local populations.

I look forward to the Auditor General for Wales’ audit of the Welsh Government’s accounts and I am confident the health and social services budget will break even overall in 2014-15. This has been possible by using savings and slippage on centrally-held health and social care budgets to offset the anticipated deficits in the 3 organisations.