Assurances sought over health board overspend

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar is calling for assurances that health services in North Wales will not be cut following news this week of Betsi Cadawaldr University Health  Board’s massive overspend.

Latest figures have revealed that the Labour-run Welsh NHS is set to record its biggest single-year deficit ever, with four Welsh Health Boards having overspent by a combined total of almost £163m, with Betsi Cadwaladr seeing its overspend rise to £36m, up from £30m last year.

The North Wales Health Board has had long-term problems and is still in special measures. Auditors point to "significant financial challenges"  and say it needs to take a "transformational approach" to make the savings it needs to reduce the growing cumulative deficit.

The deficit in a three-year period has risen from £75.5m from 2014-17 to £85.3m between 2015-18.

Expressing his concern about the overspend, Darren said:

“It is deeply worrying that despite being in special measures and under direct Welsh Government control the situation here in North Wales is getting worse. 

“Patients will understandably be extremely worried about these latest figures and the impact this overspend will have on services.   

“People  in North Wales need assurances from Welsh Ministers that Betsi won’t be forced to cancel operations or put off recruiting much needed staff to balance the books.

“Patients and staff should not have to pay the price because the Welsh Government has failed deliver promised improvements in the Health Board’s finances.”