Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Crisis meeting for NHS Wales called by First Minister

01 Aug 2023 4 minute read
Mark Drakeford speaking during Senedd plenary

Martin Shipton

Health board officials from across Wales have been summoned to a crisis meeting with First Minister Mark Drakeford over spending cuts that will have a serious impact on the NHS.

The meeting, which will take place in mid August, comes as practitioners within the health service become increasingly concerned about how it will cope as inflationary pressures continue to mount.

On July 11, when presenting the Welsh Government’s annual report to the Senedd, Mr Drakeford told MSs: “The challenges faced during the past 12 months were unprecedented—a combination of economic and fiscal pressures produced by one of the most difficult financial situations that this nation has ever experienced.

“While progress in the second year of our programme has been significant, the current year is already much more difficult, and the next financial year is set to be more difficult still. In this year, our settlement is worth up to £900 million less in real terms than was expected when it was set by the current Prime Minister, who was then the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in October 2021.

“Our capital budget will be 5 per cent lower in real terms next year than last year, because of the inexplicable failure of the UK Government to invest in public infrastructure at a time when interest rates were low. All of this has direct, unavoidable and adverse consequences for the delivery of our programme for government.

“Last week, the NHS celebrated its 75th birthday, and we are rightly proud of that national health service and the tens of thousands of staff who are at its beating heart. Even in these toughest of times, we have committed more than £1 billion in additional funding over the course of this Senedd term to help it to recover from the pandemic and to reduce waiting times.

“Thanks to the hard work of staff all over Wales, those long waits are falling. We’ve worked with our GP community to improve access to appointments and launched the NHS ‘111 press 2’ service across Wales, right across Wales now, providing access to mental health support whenever people need it.”

Referring to the forthcoming meeting with health board leaders, a Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “The Health Minister meets regularly with NHS leaders on all aspects of performance, including finance, especially as we prepare for next year’s budget.

“Given the seriousness of the current financial position – our budget this year, after the UK Spring Budget in March, is up to £900m lower in real terms than we expected at the time of the 2021 spending review – the First Minister is keen to stay updated about activity across all Welsh Government departments.”

Election issue

Secretary of State for Wales David Davies made it clear that the Conservative Party sees the state of the NHS in Wales as a key issue in advance of the next general election, expected to be held in 2024.

Mr Davies said: “It’s deeply concerning that the Welsh Labour government appears to be telling NHS boards in Wales to make service cuts.

“The fact is that for every pound per head spent in England, the NHS in Wales has £1.20 to spend. Yet in Wales we’re seeing longer waiting lists and now the prospect of cuts to services.

“We need a proper explanation from the Welsh Government about their priorities. We know that more than £100m has been misspent by the Betsi Cadwaladr health board, yet the Welsh Government has sacked the commissioners who pointed that out and refused to publish the report that identified problems.

“On top of that, we know that money has been wasted in other policy areas. According to the Institute of Welsh Affairs, the Welsh Government spent £150m on the M4 relief road that it decided to cancel.

“In England, the UK Government has always protected health spending. That simply hasn’t happened in Wales. Yet the Welsh Government has had the benefit of Barnett consequential funding that provides it with 20% more funding for the NHS than in England.

“You’d think that UK Labour would want to draw attention to the part of the UK where its party has been in power since the start of devolution and in charge of the health service. Yet the likes of Keir Starmer shy away from referring to that. Clearly they are embarrassed by Welsh Labour’s stewardship of the NHS, despite the extra funding they have had.

“We shall certainly be drawing people’s attention to the appalling way in which Labour has run the NHS in Wales during the general election campaign, when it comes.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
G Horton-Jones.
G Horton-Jones.
8 months ago

Time for an Independent Wales

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago

.. but not led by Labour !

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
8 months ago

Post-independence, and our own currency, Cymru will fund the health and care sector appropriately, paying nurses and doctors generously.

The Tory-Labour hegemony in Westminster and a one-party state in Wales is not serving our people well.

We must elect pro-independence candidates at every level to lead us to the freedom and equity our country should and will enjoy.

Welshman28
Welshman28
8 months ago
Reply to  Neil Anderson

What a load of tosh please tell us all how will you fund your own currency and where will that money come from

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
8 months ago
Reply to  Welshman28

Do you understand what money is? It is merely a promise to pay. Have a look at a banknote! Read! (Sovereign) governments create (fiat) money at will – whenever they fund a project or a department. Say, action against Covid. Yes, it comes from the magic money tree! Only Tories don’t want you to know that (and clearly you don’t), while for Labour “It dare not speak its name” lest we the people demand decent wages for nurses, teachers and pensioners… Instead, both parties want to fund self-defeating things – like a high-energy economy. Or HS2. Never any difficulty finding… Read more »

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

We all know what all MS’s know …….
A new face as Health Minister and a real National Health Cymru Service
“ Iechyd Cymru “ focusing on Quality Delivery and Training that engages local patients .

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Rather than using English hospitals as they do now. It is an absolute disgrace

wayne
wayne
8 months ago

£3 Million to City and county of Swansea, 22 Counties in Wales = £66 Million wasted on 20 mph legislation. Add this to all the wasted cycle paths that very few people use. And they want another 34 Senedd member at what cost. All this done by The Labour Party supported by Plaid Cymru. They CAN’NT DO The job! they need to ship out. If your serious about Independence then its time for change its time for GWLAD, The time is now as there are no life boats, Labour and PC have already sold them.

Last edited 8 months ago by wayne
Raymond Smith
Raymond Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  wayne

How many roads in Wales that do not have a pavement?
The longest one is from Pentyrch back down towards A470.

Welshman28
Welshman28
8 months ago

Drakeford. “Our capital budget will be 5 per cent lower in real terms next year” in other words your making up rubbish to cover for you financial misspending your income under the Barnet formula is higher than ever but you compare it to a figure you think you should get because of inflation you cannot manage your money so you make excuses all the time.

Andy Williams
8 months ago

The Tories are going to have a field day, at the next UK GE, over Drakeford’s and Welsh Labour, handling of the NHS in Wales. Starmer needs to wake up to this disaster, on his doorstep.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.