Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am pleased to be able to confirm today that all NHS organisations have met their statutory financial target to break-even in 2012-13 and all have received an unqualified opinion on their accounts from the Auditor General for Wales.
The Welsh Government has made no secret of the tough financial challenges NHS Wales has faced and continues to face as the UK Government continues to cut even deeper into the Welsh budget. Through careful financial management of the total health and social services budget, the NHS was able to generate a small surplus of £61k, despite the unprecedented levels of pressure on unscheduled care and other services.
Inevitably, some organisations within NHS Wales continued to experience greater structural financial challenges than others and needed additional financial support to meet their year end targets. Hywel Dda and Powys Health Boards received repayable brokerage of £2.3 million and £4.2 million respectively from other NHS organisations. These amounts have already been repaid to the contributing organisations at the start of 2013-14.
Members are aware that I consider the focus on meeting annual financial targets can be detrimental to the development and implementation of medium term plans for sustaining and enhancing safe and quality services. I announced recently that I will be introducing legislation to provide more flexibility to organisations to manage their finances over more than one financial year. The legislation is being drawn up and subject to its approval I hope to implement these changes at the start of the new financial year i.e. April 2014.
In 2012/13 we started a move towards greater transparency and the measurement of outcomes which provide a renewed focus on patient quality and safety, particularly in the light of the Francis Report. This process continues in the current year.
In 2012-13, NHS Wales has broken even without needing additional support from Welsh Government central reserves. This is a remarkable achievement, and is testament to the hard work of all NHS organisations and their staff. I offer them my thanks and congratulations.