Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services
On 26 September I announced my officials would carry out a Mid Year Review of the financial and non financial performance of the NHS. I have considered the findings of the Review and am now in a position to report on the action I will take.
The conclusions from the Review provide evidence the NHS is working hard to maintain performance and delivery levels. However, there is also evidence this year, the level of demand for some services has grown more rapidly than we anticipated. This has been particularly prevalent within the unscheduled care system. We have seen a significant increase in the number of older people admitted to our A&E Departments. Lengths of stay in hospital tend to be longer for older people, and they often require more expensive treatments. Health Boards did have plans to cope with increasing demand but the increases have been unprecedented this year, placing further pressure on their resources.
In the medium term, we will need to undertake further careful analysis of the results of the review. My immediate priority is to respond to the substantial evidence gathered during the review to ensure that my delivery priorities are delivered.
I am determined we should maintain and improve quality standards and meet the commitments outlined in my delivery plans. I am not prepared to compromise on these issues.
Consequently I have decided to allocate an additional £82 million to the NHS from resources within my own budget. This additional funding will be met from within my contingency reserve, with an element also being transferred from available resources within my capital programme. The review identified a likely underspend against planned capital expenditure for this year, due in part to project slippage, but also to ensure that future expenditure is aligned to the outcome of the consultation on our service change plans.
In making this additional allocation I expect to see a number of benefits, including
- Maintenance of required quality and performance levels.
- Enablement of continued and accelerated progress in relation to Ministerial policy priorities:
- Primary Care Development – there will be further development in the capacity and capability of care in primary and community care setting. This is critical to enable sustainable development across the NHS.
- Inverse Care Law – the ground breaking initiatives to address health inequalities will gather pace. In Cwm Taf and Aneurin Bevan we will test and evaluate arrangements which have the potential to address historic inequalities.
- Service Change – Health Boards will plan and implement continuous changes to ensure sustainable high quality service provision.
- Unscheduled Care – Health Boards will further develop their processes and patient pathways to enable achievement of relevant standards and consistently high levels of patient experience.
- Ensuring year end financial balance at ‘system’ and organisational level.