Health Boards in Huge PS150m Deficit; Revealed: Scale of the Growing Cash Crises in Our Health Boards
WALES' seven health boards have collectively overspent by PS150m - a staggering 200% increase on the previous financial year, new figures have revealed.
And the budget deficit is only set to get worse, with health boards potentially facing a PS175m "black hole" by the end of 2017-18.
The Welsh Government said the deficits were "unacceptable" and reiterated that it will not offer health boards any additional money.
Dr David Bailey, chairman of the BMA's Welsh Council described the 12-month increase as "deeply concerning" but not surprising.
He said: "Wales is facing unprecedented recruitment challenges in various health professions and while work is being undertaken to address this - most notably the Welsh Government's Train Work Live scheme - patients still need to be treated, meaning agency spend inevitably increases.
"Deficits of this kind are unsustainable and ultimately patients bear the brunt of the cost. Empowering clinicians to take decisions and manage turn to page 4 from page 1 their own waiting lists, improving care closer to home by investing in primary care and promoting Wales as an attractive place to practice medicine will help to bring the deficit down."
In 2015-16, health boards combined recorded a PS50.3m budget deficit, with Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Boards the only two to overspend.
A year on, the health boards have to treble their deficit to PS147.8m in 2016-17.
Hywel Dda (PS49.6m), Abertawe Bro Morgannwg (PS39.3m), Betsi Cadwaladr (PS29.8m) and Cardiff and Vale UHB (PS29.2m) each recorded significant overspends.
And latest predictions show some health boards are set to increase their overspend once again by the end of this financial year.
Besti Cadwaladr University Health Board, which is currently in "special measures" - he highest level of government control - had planned to overspend by PS26m in 2017-18.
But a report for the board said the overspending could reach PS50m "without significant intervention".
Shadow Health Secretary Angela Burns said: "The Welsh Government's financial mismanagement of the Welsh NHS is having a profound impact upon the patient experience right across Wales. In March, the First Minister threatened health boards with special measures if they overspent their allocations.
"What next the for Betsi Cadwaladr, which is already under their control? "This money will have to be accounted for somewhere, and if it merely disappears from next year's budget then the consequences for frontline services could be very damaging indeed."
In response to the projected deficit, finance director for operational finance at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Huw Thomas, said: "We are taking significant action in relation to known areas of pressure, both to deliver short-term savings and better value services in the longer term.
"We are doing all we can to both deliver high quality services and meet our financial targets."
Hywel Dda UHB, which is under the second most serious form of control known as "targeted intervention", is forecast to have a PS59m budget deficit in 2017-18. …