‘Long-standing issues’ to blame for £25m deficit

By Chris Betteley   |   Reporter   |
Monday 27th June 2022 10:00 am
@ChrisABetteley
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Photo Code DPJ16O79 Photo Arwyn Parry Jones 16October08 Ref Bev; Bronglais Hospital....... ()

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HYWEL Dda Health Board posted a £25m deficit last year and has “failed to meet its financial duty to break-even over a three-year period”, the Auditor General has said.

A report published last week showed 11 of the 12 NHS bodies’ 2021-22 audited accounts and “showed a clear picture of increased spending and some irregular spending in year.”

The report said that Hywel Dda University Health Board - along with Swansea Bay Health Board “failed to meet their financial duty to break even over three years” and “also failed to break-even in year.”

Hywel Dda’s in-year deficit was around £25 million.

The Auditor General “qualified his audit opinion on the regularity of these two bodies’ 2021-22 expenditure as failing this duty means they have exceeded their authority to spend.”

Audit work on North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board is continuing and expected to be published soon.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Director of Finance, Huw Thomas, said: “The financial deficit in Hywel Dda University Health Board represents longstanding issues with the challenges of providing services across our three counties.

“These relate partly to the demand on our services and to the challenges relating to shortages of staff which means we have incurred significant costs relating to sourcing more expensive agency staffing.

“Given the unprecedented demands on our services during the pandemic, our focus over the past two years was to ensure our finances did not deteriorate.

“During the year, we provided for £0.9m in relation to the tax consequences of pension arrangements for senior medical staff.

“This helped ensure that we were able to maintain services for our patients at a time of significant demand.

“I am grateful for the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues, partners, volunteers and care givers across the Health Board for their hard work over the course of the last year to deliver and support our services under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Auditor General, Adrian Crompton said: “Considerable funding continued to be made available in 2021-22, including ongoing support in responding to the pandemic, and yet the financial position of the NHS remains extremely challenging.

“The pressures on NHS Wales continue as it shifts to recovery mode and responds to new cost and demand pressures including the significant backlog of planned care.

The auditor’s report outlines that overall eight health boards incurred irregular expenditure in year, while the other three health boards, three NHS trusts and two special health authorities all met their duties to break-even.

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