Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has written-off the £470m owed by NHS organisations in Wales so they can focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2014 the Welsh Government has provided strategic cash support of £470m for historic debt and this will now not have to be repaid.
Mr Gething said:
It is now six years since the NHS Finance Act 2014 introduced the duty to break even over a three-year period. This year’s accounts show four health boards haven’t been able to operate within their budgets since 2014 and together have amassed deficits of more than £600m. We have provided strategic cash support of almost £470m to these health boards over this period.
This level of historic deficit is clearly a barrier to the NHS as it starts to plan for the long-term recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and it holds these health boards back from achieving financial balance.
Until now, there has been an expectation NHS organisations would repay this deficit and the cash support. To do this, they would need to generate underspends. I have decided the £470m of cash support will not need to be repaid and when an organisation achieves its three-year break-even duty, it will not be required to repay any historic deficits.
This will provide certainty to these organisations, helping them to focus on the immediate recovery from coronavirus, while also planning for the future and striving for financial balance.
A summarised account of the Health Boards, NHS Trusts and Health Education and Improvement Wales, will be published in August following sign-off by the Auditor General for Wales.