The National Health Service will receive an investment worth nearly £300 million according to new draft spending plans drawn up by the Welsh administration.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt told members of the Welsh parliaments that the 2016/17 draft budget backed Labour’s “priorities for Wales and its future”.
As a result of the new spending plans, the amount of being spent on healthcare overall will rise by in excess of 4 per cent.
It is hoped that the extra funds will provide a significant boost to healthcare in Wales.
Nonetheless, despite the promise of extra funding for the Welsh NHS, the Conservative Opposition suggested that the spending plans were inadequate.
Tories stated that the spending plan was “too little, far too late for our hardworking NHS staff”.
Of the overall amount pledged, the Welsh government has already confirmed that in the region of £260 million will be set aside for day-to-day expenditure on NHS services.
Meanwhile, over £30 million has been earmarked for expenditure on infrastructure, maintaining the existing NHS estate and purchasing additional equipment.
In order to balance the books, the Welsh assembly has also announced efficiency savings of £50 million within the health service.
Finance Minister Jane Hutt commented on her responsibility to protect the services that mattered most to people, within the financial constraints of the Welsh government.
“It has been another challenging settlement which has been set against the backdrop of successive real terms cuts to our Budget over the last five years. 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.”
Despite the apparent improvement in health funding in Wales, the Conservative Opposition was unsurprisingly scathing about the government policy.
Conservative Shadow Finance Minister Nick Ramsay suggested that the plans represented a piecemeal response to years of neglect for the NHS in Wales.
“Hospital downgrading, huge delays in waiting times, a failure to recruit staff; this chaos is a direct result of Labour’s record-breaking NHS budget cuts. By failing to protect the budget, our health service has been starved of £1bn since 2010/11,” Ramsay remarked.
But Ramsay represented pretty much a lone voice of dissent in the Welsh assembly.
By contrast, Plaid Cymru AM Alun Ffred Jones was appreciative of the extra cash to being promised to the NHS in Wales.
James particularly hopes that the extra cash could be pledged towards the process of reducing waiting times within the Welsh health service.
“I do very much hope that this will enable waiting lists to be substantially reduced, in light of the harsh criticism of the Royal College of Surgeons in their statement yesterday.”