Health Board to make £105m of savings in next three years
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will be tasked with making £105m in savings over the next three years.
At a health board meeting this week, the Integrated Medium Term Plan (IMTP) 2022/25 was presented to board members for approval.
The document sets out the health board’s priorities and objectives for the next three years, including a financial plan, which must be approved by Welsh Government.
The associated report revealed that the health board has a budget of around £1.9 billion each year for 2022/23, 2023/24, and 2024/25 – or £1,874m, £1,870m, and £1,907m for each respective year.
Board members discussed how £40m of Welsh Government funding had enabled Betsi to ‘break even’ and balance the books for the past financial year.
But according to the plan, Betsi must find £35m savings a year for the next three years.
The report, though, doesn’t detail exactly how the savings will be made, although opportunities for savings are listed in the areas of planned care, unscheduled care, mental health, and other.
For each area a lower and higher amount of potential savings is given as follows: planned care £19.8m/£36.7m, unscheduled care £11.8m/£18.7m, mental health £3.8m/£5.5m, and other £35.3/£53.3m.
The lower-end savings total £70.7m. The higher-end savings total £114.2m.
The report also says ‘Transactional savings’ could make up £18m of savings in 2022/23, £12m in 2023/24, and £6m in 2024/25. ‘Transformational savings’ could save £17m in 2022/23, £23m in 2023/24, and £29m in 2024/25, totalling at £105m.
The financial plan reads: “In order to deliver the ongoing balanced financial plan, savings of £35m per annum will be required.
Securing savings through transformation will take time and therefore some savings will be transactional, particularly so at the start of the journey. As we move through the three-year IMTP timeframe, the balance of savings will increasingly move towards those led by transformation programmes.
The specific details of the transformational programme are in development. However, we have identified a number of areas where opportunities exist to improve services and deliver financial benefits.
Benchmark data reviews completed two years ago indicated an opportunity to deliver improvements that could secure financial benefits ranging between £70m and £114m, over a three year period.“
Sue Hill, Betsi’s executive director of finance, said an independent review of the proposed, yet unknown savings had been carried out. She also said the savings would not impact services.
“In terms of savings, obviously there has been a lot of scrutiny around this, and we are working closely with the transformational team to make sure we have robust benefit realisation around savings but also processes to make sure they are not impacting on the safety of services,” she said.
Mark Polin, chairman of Betsi’s board, said: “We find ourselves in a far more advanced position than we have done previously.
“We ought to congratulate and recognise the executive team. We are also in a position whereby we’ve got an integrated plan for the first time in a long time, not without its challenges.
“But we do have an integrated plan that we will be presenting to Welsh Government for approval, and I do think the plan is clearer on priorities and actions and outcomes, and also I think it is far stronger for the sections from finance and workforce, in particular, that seek to underline the key elements of delivery.”
The plan was approved and will go before Welsh Government.
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