Wales politics

NHS control warning over board deficits from Carwyn Jones

Image caption It is "unacceptable" that four health boards, including the hospitals pictured, are in deficit, ministers say

Three health boards facing big deficit increases could be taken under direct government control, First Minister Carwyn Jones has indicated.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, Cardiff and Vale, and Hywel Dda will have their 2016-17 accounts finalised in June.

In First Minister's Questions, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies called their finances "chronic."

One board - Betsi Cadwaladr in north Wales - is already controlled by ministers under special measures.

Three other boards were placed under an increased level of scrutiny from ministers in September 2016, due to doubts about their ability to tackle the financial challenges they face.

The combined overspend of the three boards and Betsi Cadwaladr is forecast to reach £146m in the current financial year, three times their combined deficit in 2015-16.

Image caption Carwyn Jones was questioned on the deficits during First Minister's Questions on Tuesday

Mr Jones told AMs: "We will look very carefully at what they are doing.

"If they do not come in 'in-budget' without harming services then we will have to look carefully at the governance of those boards.

"We will not shy away from that in the same way as we did not shy away in dealing with Betsi Cadwaladr when that situation arose."

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething told the Senedd that bills would get paid and there would be no interruption to treatment for patients.

He also warned that pumping more money into the NHS was not a "consequence-free game", in relation to the impact on the funds available for other public services.

Mr Gething told BBC Radio Wales on Monday that the health boards in the red would not be bailed out by the Welsh Government.

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