Welsh Health boards head for £176m overspend
Welsh health boards are predicting a collective overspend of almost £176m for the current financial year.
The £175.9m figure, as reported by Wales' seven health boards, represents an increase from 2016/17's overspend of £147.8m.
In 2015/16, a £50.3m budget deficit was reported.
BMA Welsh council chair David Bailey said the increase was 'deeply concerning' but not surprising.
He said: 'Wales is facing unprecedented recruitment challenges in various health professions and while work is being undertaken to address this – most notably the Welsh Government’s Train Work Live scheme – patients still need to be treated meaning agency spend inevitably increases.
'Deficits of this kind are unsustainable and ultimately patients bear the brunt of the cost.
'Empowering clinicians to take decisions and manage their own waiting lists, improving care closer to home by investing in primary care and promoting Wales as an attractive place to practise medicine will help to bring the deficit down.'
The Welsh Government described the deficit as 'unacceptable' and said the four health boards reporting overspends would not receive additional funding.
In a statement to Assembly Members in June this year, health secretary Vaughan Gething said any additional cash support given to health boards would be repayable in the future.
The Welsh Government's draft budget for 2018/19 and 2019/20 outlined an extra £450m for the Welsh NHS.