The NHS in Wales is to receive a funding boost of nearly £300m, after the Welsh government yesterday laid out its spending plans for 2016-17.
The Welsh government noted it had received a “challenging” settlement from the UK government in the spending review announced last month, which amounted to a real terms budget cut of 11% by 2019 compared to 2010.
Despite this, ministers in Wales said they had decided to protect a range of services including health, social services, schools and further education for the coming financial year.
“A focus on prevention and planning for the longer term have been central in shaping our approach to this draft budget”
The additional £293.5m for health will see the majority – £200m – go to NHS hospital, community and primary care services.
An extra £30m will go to older people and mental health services, while more money – £33.5m – will also be invested in capital projects, equipment and NHS estates maintenance.
Meanwhile, a £20m funding pot for helping the NHS and social services work together to ensure older and vulnerable people receive more care at home rather than hospital will be more than doubled to £50m due to an injection of cash.
Public health services funding will also be protected under the draft budget for 2016-17 – in contrast to England.
NHS spending in Wales currently totals £6.7bnper year. The government said the extra money was needed becasue of a growing population over the age of 65 with specific and complex conditions, alongside a growing proportion of young people over the next two decades.
“Our plans mean that spending on public health is protected”
Wales’ finance minister Jane Hutt said: “We have continued our record investment in health with more than a quarter of a billion pounds going to the Welsh NHS in 2016-17 – demonstrating our wider approach to the health and social care and the value of preventative spend.”
“Crucially our plans mean that spending per head on health looks set to remain above the levels in England and spending on public health is protected,” she added.
“Our wider approach to public service delivery in Wales, a focus on prevention and planning for the longer term have been central in shaping our approach to this draft budget. It is a budget which reflect our priorities for Wales and its future,” said Ms Hutt.