All of Wales's health boards are now under increased Welsh Government scrutiny due to rising financial pressures. Health minister Eluned Morgan confirmed that all seven Welsh health boards had been placed in enhanced monitoring — the second lowest intervention level — for the first time.
A report by Audit Wales last week showed the health boards had recorded a collective deficit of £151.9 million in the last financial year of 2022-23.
Ms Morgan said the health boards had been unable to submit financially balanced mid-term plans. "It is disappointing that all health boards have been escalated to enhanced monitoring for planning and finance," she said. "We do not make these decisions lightly and it reflects the very difficult financial position we are in, as a result of inflation and austerity, and the challenges affecting health boards.
"We are seeing operational pressures, long waiting lists, and an extremely challenging financial position in the NHS – but this is not unique to Wales. We will support health boards to improve their financial planning positions, but some difficult decisions will need to be made as we work through this very tough financial challenge.
"In the coming weeks and months, together with the NHS, we will be working with the public to outline where savings need to be made to reduce these significant budget deficits."
'Losing Grip' of the Situation
Opposition parties in the Senedd accused the Labour-run Welsh Government of overseeing the decline of the NHS in Wales and said Ms Morgan had "lost grip" of the situation.
Welsh Conservative shadow health minister Russell George said: "This is a sad indictment of the state of our Labour-run Welsh NHS, after a quarter-of-a-century of successive Labour health ministers, every health board in Wales is now at some level of Government intervention due to poor performance. While it is positive that the Labour health minister is taking some action by acknowledging the dire state of our Welsh NHS, I have little faith, given the lack of improvements we are seeing in health boards already being monitored, that much will change in the coming months."
Plaid's health spokesman Mabon ap Gwynfor said Ms Morgan had "lost grip" on the "entire situation" and should have taken action sooner. All health boards in Wales are now in some form of escalated measures. This is serious," he said. "For the Government to publish this as a written statement with no opportunity for immediate Senedd scrutiny is a cynical move by a minister that seems to have lost grip on the entire situation.
"It should not have taken until now for the minister to realise the gravity of the situation health boards were in and to take action.
"The health minister must urgently address the implications of escalating intervention arrangements and provide both a clear picture of the financial well-being of health boards and a meaningful plan that gives confidence to patients, particularly with undoubted winter pressures approaching."