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Senedd to debate motion on NHS funding

20 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Photo Jeff Moore/PA Wire

Emily Price

The Senedd will today (20th September) debate a motion on NHS funding following news that total overspends by Wales’s seven health boards could reach £800m.

The First Minister has claimed that Welsh public services face a real terms £900m inflationary shortfall since the spending review in 2021.

Last month, a report by Audit Wales found six out of the seven health boards in Wales have failed to meet their statutory duty to break even over a three-year period.

The report revealed that 60% of the savings made last year by health boards came from one-off actions rather than efficiencies.

Wales spent £325m on agency staff in 2022-2023 to tackle sickness absence and staff vacancies which reaching almost 5,000 at the end of 2022.

In December last year, the NHS recorded its seventh highest long-term sickness absence rate of any 12-month period since data was first published in 2009.

The short-term sickness absence rate was 7.0% in the quarter ending 31 December 2021 – this is the third highest quarterly rate since data was first published in 2009.

The Welsh Government has said that impact on Wales is a result of the mismanagement of the UK economy and public finances by successive UK Conservative governments.


The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for certainty that rural Wales will “not be left short changed” and residents “left further behind” in accessing services.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Jane Dodds MS said: “We can’t forget, in discussing figures and budgets, that there will be a real human impact to the public spending cuts that will be made. Patients and staff must be protected from deeper and deeper cuts to public spending.

“I also want certainty that rural Wales will not be left short changed and residents left behind, finding it even harder to access the care they need.

“This wasn’t inevitable. Year after year, savings in the health service are made on the backs of one off cuts or changes. It cannot go on.

“The NHS spends millions on agency workers, stress and sickness rates are higher than before pandemic, and there are thousands of vacancies. For the sake of patients and staff, the NHS needs reform, not knee-jerk reactions.”

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