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Sunday, March 18, 2007

In debt

The news that NHS debt has now reached £130 million in Wales raises a number of fundamental questions about what is to be done.

It is not as simple as stepping in and paying off the debt as that would penalise those Trusts such as Bro Morgannwg who are debt-free. Such an action would also ignore the fundamental problem of current deficits. The fact that Trusts continue to add to the debt mountain year-on-year indicates either that they are badly managed or that they are underfunded.

Wanless of course declared that the solution lies in re-structuring but unless there is some funding to enable that to take place by investing in alternative services to those that are about to be closed, then it is difficult to see how that will gain public acceptance. There is also the large number of central government initiatives which many Trusts say are underfunded.

It is not a problem that I envy anybody having to tackle, nevertheless that is what needs to be done and like other parties we are ready to give it a go. As manifestos are published in the next few weeks we will all be trying to convince voters that we have the answer. It will be an interesting debate.
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