First Minister Carwyn Jones has vowed to see through controversial NHS reorganisation plans.
He said to "leave things as they are" would store up exceptionally difficult problems in the future.
Mr Jones also said he would seek "appropriate" NHS funding, following a review announced last week.
The review aims to avoid a scandal like that at Stafford Hospital in England, where hundreds of patients died due to neglect and abuse from 2005 to 2008.
Mr Jones was speaking at his monthly news conference.
"Having seen the difficulties around reconfiguration, the easiest thing to do would be to say well, leave things as they are," he told journalists.
"But I know full well that if that happens we're storing up potentially exceptionally difficult problems in the future."
Planned shake-ups in specialist services at hospitals across Wales have created controversy.
The latest protests have been in south Wales, with opposition to proposals to move key specialist care from Llantrisant's Royal Glamorgan hospital as part of changes at five health boards.
Mr Jones also called on UK ministers to announce this week their response to the Silk commission, which they set up, which recommended giving Wales taxation and borrowing powers.
The UK Government is not now expected to publish its position until the middle of September, despite a promise from Welsh Secretary David Jones to do so by the end of spring.
The first minister said: "We cannot move ahead with any potential projects that would require borrowing until we get borrowing powers.
"That includes, of course, any potential M4 relief road - which could not proceed without borrowing powers, nor indeed could many other projects as well."
Mr Jones said he would "encourage" UK ministers to make an announcement this this week "because it's important that we get clarity in terms of Wales' future position".