This morning’s Western Mail reports that David Sissling, the chief executive of the NHS in Wales, has said he is increasingly confident that health boards will come in on budget this year.
Mr Sissling made his comments despite the fact that health boards have admitted that they had already overspent up to millions of pounds in the first half of the financial year:
In the past, health boards have been forced to borrow money from the Welsh Government due to overspending on their annual budget.
But Mr Sissling said that he believed budgets could be achieved this year but he also believed that financial pressures would be eased if health boards were able to move to a three-year target instead of an annual target.
He said: “A lot of work is being done in terms of the financial situation of the NHS. Mid year there was a number of overspending across the health boards and we have analysed the causes of that. There has been an increase in demand of A&E services for the first six months and we have seen a year-on-year 10% increase in over 85-year-olds.
“These are people needing health and social care support which had caused the to require admittance and we have had continuity in care pressures. This has meant increasingly high levels of use in some areas of locum and agency staff, which probably will be the case until some of the service changes have been delivered.
“We are working with health boards to analyse the position and deliver plans to break even. They will be looking at procurement costs, all the goods that they spend money on and looking at new models of care.
“Recommendations have been made to the Health Minister about the management of finances in the NHS. We need to make sure that we have plans that are addressing a three-year time frame but we are increasingly confident that health boards will break even this year.”
We will see if he is right in a few months time.