King's Fund apologises over Welsh NHS figures error

An economist has apologised to the Welsh Government for an error over figures about cuts in health spending.

Health think tank King's Fund says the correct figure over three years should have been a fall of 8.3% rather than a reported figure of nearly 11%.

The Welsh Government has accepted the correction, stating that 40% of its budget will be spent on health and social services.

Economist John Appleby has apologised to Health Minister Lesley Griffiths.

"In his letter to the minister, Prof Appleby has apologised for an error that exaggerated the real change in Wales' NHS spending.

"Ahead of the publication of the report, the Welsh Government had queried the four-year forecasts released by the King's Fund. This error was acknowledged by Prof Appleby on Wednesday morning."

Writing for the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Mr Appleby said the NHS in Wales is set for a budget cut of nearly 11% over three years, but that figure has since been revised to -8.3%.

The new figure is still considerably bigger than the 0.9% cut for England and 2.2% cut by 2014/15 in Northern Ireland.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "The health service has, and will, continue to be a priority for the Welsh Government - despite the financial constraints imposed on us by the UK Government.

"This commitment is demonstrated by the £77m investment in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd announced yesterday - and the fact that more than 40% of the overall Welsh budget will be invested in providing health and social services for the people of Wales."

In Scotland, NHS spending will be cut in real terms by around 3.3% this year, with no plans yet made for spending in subsequent years.

For the UK NHS as a whole, funding will be cut in real terms by 2014/15.

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