Wales politics

Two Welsh NHS boards share £50m budget overspend

Hospital Image copyright Thinkstock

Two Welsh health boards overspent their budgets by £50.7m between them in the 2015-16 financial year, it has emerged.

Hywel Dda in west Wales overspent by £31.2m, and north Wales' Betsi Cadwaladr by £19.5m.

The Welsh Government has provided £23.9m extra cash to Hywel Dda, which will need to be repaid, but not for Betsi Cadwaladr.

Hywel Dda said its service performance had "stabilised" while Betsi said the overspend was 1.5% of its budget.

Welsh Government Health Minister Vaughan Gething confirmed Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr had overspent in a statement to AMs.

Previous Health Minister Mark Drakeford warned earlier in 2016 that both health boards were unlikely to break even.

Seven out of the ten organisations that run Welsh NHS services broke even in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The Cardiff and Vale board failed in 2014-15 but achieved break-even in 2015-16. Neither Betsi or Hywel Dda broke even that year.

Mr Gething said: "I am confident the health and social services budget will break even overall in 2015-16 following the additional investment outlined above and through other appropriate actions that have been taken to find budgetary savings to offset the deficits incurred by the two health boards in 2015-16."

Steve Moore, chief executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board which spent a total of £809.6m in the year to March 2016, said: "Over the last year, we have seen our service performance stabilise and we remain ambitious about improving health outcomes, quality of care and best value across all our services for the benefit of our local population."

Image caption Steve Moore was appointed Hywel Dda's chief executive in October 2014

Betsi Cadwaladr is trying to save £42.8m over the next year to break even by 2017.

A spokesman for the health board said its £19.5m deficit was "slightly below its forecast for the year of £19.7m, and represents 1.5% of our budget".

The board had a net expenditure of £1.3bn.

A Welsh Government spokesman said Hywel Dda received £23.9m in 2015-16 to meet ongoing cash commitments such as payroll and payments to HMRC.

He said: "This is not additional funding, and will be repayable in future. No additional cash assistance was provided to Betsi Cadwaladr UHB in 2015-16."

"The overspend in the two health boards was managed by holding back on central Welsh Government expenditure, so that the total Welsh Government health and social services budget was able to break-even in 2015-16," he added.

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