Health Minister Vaughan Gething (AM for Cardiff South and Penarth) being interviewed by the BBC suggested having a “conversation between clinicians and the public” about the massive  overspending in the Wales NHS –  which he is in charge of.

The Welsh Labour Government – which has been in power for  17 years – is now faced with financial overspends which are set to triple in four of its Health Boards –  including the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board  which is set to overspend by £31,000,000 in the current financial year..

The Health Boards – which are in the main run by Labour Party appointees  or Labour Party supporters  –  are this year forecast to overspend [ i.e. spend money they don’t have] – by  £146,000,000.

 In what observers say is a half-hearted attempt by Labour to try to instill some sort of financial discipline into its free-spending Health Boards,  the Welsh Labour Government has issued a  warning that any  Health Board that exceeds its allocated resources will “not be bailed out.”

The Welsh Labour Government said “The position in these four health boards is unacceptable, and we have made it clear that we expect them to take action to significantly improve their financial position.”  .

However in a mild-mannered message to the four out-of-control Health Boards, the struggling Labour Health Minister Vaughan Gething (AM for Cardiff South and Penarth)  has  called only for what he describes as a “public conversation between clinicians and the public” on “transforming” the health service .Insiders say that’s code for increasing tax.

In a delphic BBC interview Gething said  only “If we can’t have that conversation between clinicians and the public we’re unlikely to make the choices we need to have a high quality service that is sustainable in every single sense.”

Gething – a former trade union solicitor who is supposed to ensure the NHS Boards live within their means and deliver the goods  – says “The real challenge is how do we get into transforming the way we deliver our health service, to look at what is expensive and doesn’t deliver the right sort of value, the right sort of quality”.


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  1. Chris David says:

    Cut out non health services- like fertility treatments. The NHS should be for the ill. Start charging for prescriptions again- including charging the shirkers and hungover.Stop dolling out over the counter drugs on the NHS. Even Gluten Free food can be claimed. A health pro told me that people go the docs with “ailments” like colds and hangovers in order to get things like Aspirin free. This is not only costly, it clogs up the health centres hence the dial a doc @ 8 o’clock debacle. That just the start. Politics and self interest is rife.

    • Ann Other says:

      All very true.

    • DRT Andrews says:

      Why stop at this? Don’t treat the obese who suffer from all manner of self inflicted illnesses; smokers who contract lung cancer; drinkers who have liver disease; people who put themselves at risk from participation in sort. Let the blighters suffer. Hey, Mr David you and I have got it sorted.

  2. Zapper says:

    Is infertility not an illness? That comment seems a little narrow minded! I agree with the hangover/scrounging bit though.

    • Sidney says:

      No, it is not an illness. It just means you can’t have kids but everyone these days has to have everything. They are full of entitlement and expectation and who’s going to pay for their demands?

  3. Chris David says:

    That’s a deep one- but my real point is that the NHS is struggling and surely money should be channelled into conditions that are directly physically or mentally debilitating (subjective but a line has to be drawn) or life threatening?

  4. Marcus says:

    Classic Labour – big promises, spend with no thought for where the money’s coming from, while sneering at those in private business who pay the taxes.
    The only thing vaguely amusing about this is that Labour has been in power so long in Wales they can no longer “blame the Tories” for their mess. What a joke.

  5. Tim Hughes says:

    The issue is of course not fertility treatment, drunkeness or shirkers; typical Daily Mail headline non solution to a real problem. The NHS has been been very very successful at saving lives with treatments for the main killers of cancer and heart problems. The result is an aging population with parts that were not intended to last that long. We need a real solution to this and it would be better for a bilateral approach rather than party politics.

  6. Chris David says:

    Oh yes you’ve hit on a very valid point. But what are typical “Daily Mail headlines”? Don’t read it but as you do please enlighten us.

  7. Zapper says:

    Dear Sidney, infertility is a word used to cover a broad spectrum of medical ailments that make conceiving a child difficult..I.E Endometriosis,Polycystic ovary syndrome and countless other diseases that contribute to this illness. Some of these illnesses with medical intervention can be cured so that people can have children.
    Blindness is an illness that thousands of people live with and in some cases can be cured. Should a blind person be denied medical help to save money? After all blind people can still live without their sight…..

  8. snoggerdog says:

    its a bit off when you think of it,the welsh dont pay for our scripts but the diversities to the right of us (north facing) have to.

  9. Chris David says:

    I presume you’re being ironic DRTA?

    • DRT Andrews says:

      No, just a factual response to snoggerdog’s post. The irony was in my other comment.

  10. Chris David says:

    NO- I think we should treat everyone from everywhere FOC Mr DRAT. Start opening the surgery phone lines 5AM for starters.

  11. Penileaks says:

    It is so sad that the NHS struggles at the moment to make ends meet, as by and large they all do a superb job for us all.
    The reasons behind the financial struggle that they find themselves in are many. The NHS was set up in different times and many things have changed over those nearly 70 years of it’s existence, not least the rise in the average lifespan of our UK population, which as people live longer and new medicines and treatments become available to treat the illnesses that appear with extended age, all adds substantially to the costs involved in delivering the treatments required and available.
    This ageing population is not the only reason for these troubles however.
    There is the general increase in population to treat, some natural and in some areas brought about by both normal increases and those by inflated by immigration.
    There is this belief by some that the merest headache requires a visit to their local GP and a request for medication to deal with it.
    There are families who believe that the NHS should supply their children with Calpol as and when they feel it is necessary.
    Then there is the costs of some of the medication prescribed. Whilst listening to a discussion on this very subject on Radio Wales yesterday morning, there was some chap who called in and explained that he required one Asprin a day. When getting it prescribed from his Doctor, he had a monthly script for 28 tablets and the Doctor had informed him that it cost the NHS £2 so-many-pence each time, plus the admin costs, etc., and that he had discovered that he could buy a bottle containing 100 tablets for under £2 in the high street and had therefore not bothered with the prescribed ones any more. So, the question is, if there are such price differences on the high street to what the NHS are currently paying for the same medicines, why are they not buying the medicines themselves and issuing them as necessary to patients who require them. With the example given above, that would be a 2/3rds cost saving.
    Then there is the vast increase in NHS management over the years. When I worked in Llandough Hospital many years ago, they were lumped in with St David’s, The Royal Infirmary, The Heath and Caerphilly Miner’s if I remember correctly, but i’m sure that someone on here will if i’m wrong. They had some local management of course, but much was done at a central point. When Llandough went to a trust, the management numbers spiralled, there was even one position ‘manufactured’ for a person to go around with their main duty being to count how many beds were available and all on £28k per year. A total waste and there must have been many others in many other hospitals doing the same type of work.
    Then we should perhaps look at what the NHS spends on their equipment. I know that just after my time in Llandough, one office in MRC decided that they needed a dishwasher…..all for the 3 people who worked in it. I suppose that similar ‘necessities’ were procured throughout the NHS and probably still are.
    The cost of those ‘minor’ items pales into insignificance however when compared to NHS spending on other highly technical medical equipment.
    The people who run these health boards and the hospitals within them are under some sort of pressure from central government, to make sure that the monies in various accounts are spent, or else they will lose the funding for the following year. This type of thing happens in many central and local government run services, such as local council departments and local councils as a whole and so it is not unusual, but nevertheless very often spending hard earned taxpayers money for the sake of it.
    I know of two occasions with in the last 12 months, where a health board in southern England have spent. more than they have needed to, vastly more, just to make sure that they have spent what is in the account, because they are afraid that they will lose it if they don’t. This sort of ‘forced’ spending must go on in most, if not all the health boards around the UK and the reasons behind it need to be changed and I would suggest that this can only be achieved in the central government Department of Health change their funding rules.
    I was never much of a fan of Anne Widecombe, but she made a very clear and sensible statement on a recent Question Time episode and that was that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the NHS and this needs to be done with all political parties involved and all senior persons involved with the NHS – managers, Doctors, etc., included in the discussions, so that a clear way forward can be decided upon and not for one government to decide on changes and the next change it all again.
    Here endeth the first (and final), lesson !

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