Lesley Griffiths says no bail-out for health boards

Lesley Griffiths Lesley Griffiths says the status quo is not an option for the NHS

Related Stories

Health minister Lesley Griffiths says there will be no money to bail out the NHS in Wales if it goes into the red.

She said years of propping up local health boards (LHBs) were over and managers knew they had to come in on target.

Unlike previous years, LHBs will be getting funding up front to help them balance the books.

Plans to change the way services are delivered will make them more sustainable, the minister said.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, she was asked whether health boards would have to change their behaviour.

She replied: "Absolutely. As soon as I came into this portfolio back in May, that was probably one of the first conversations we had.

"Year on year, at the end of the year, they have always had to be bailed out.

Rising expectations

Start Quote

I have had to spell out very clearly that they must come in on financial target this year”

End Quote Lesley Griffiths Health Minister

"What I've done this year is manage to get some money and they've had it earlier so they can look at their financial situation and I have had to spell out very clearly that they must come in on financial target this year."

She added: "We haven't got any more money and they know that and they really know that they have to hit their financial targets."

The current configuration of health services had to change because of an ageing population, the rising expectations of patients and tighter finances, she said.

Despite modest cash increases, the Welsh government's health and social services budget - its biggest item of expenditure - is in line for a real-terms cut in coming years.

Health boards have been allocated an additional £100m to ease the pressure on them.

Ms Griffiths said the ultimate sanction would be to replace a health board if it cannot handle its finances, but she said she did not foresee it happening.

Boards are preparing plans to reorganise and improve services, with the likelihood that some patients will have to travel further for certain specialist treatment.

Ms Griffiths told the Good Morning Wales programme it was time "to rebalance the delivery of many of our services and we also need to change people's thinking and behaviour".

But she stressed that district general hospitals will keep an "essential role".

The Wales Audit Office has warned that the NHS in Wales faces a tougher funding settlement than in the rest of the UK.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Wales stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • An ant and a humanMass of bodies

    Do all the world's ants really weigh as much as all the humans?


  • Taxi in Mexico Freewheeling

    How I got my driving licence without taking a test


  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos


  • Indian coupleSuspicious spouses

    Is your sweetheart playing away? Call Delhi's wedding detective


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game

Programmes

  • StudentsClick Watch

    Could a new social network help tailor lessons to students’ needs and spot when they fall behind?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.