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New Health Boards face a huge challenge - Peter Black

September 30, 2009 3:31 PM

Commenting on the handover between the previous 29 Local Health Boards and NHS Trusts to the new larger Welsh Local Health Boards, Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Minister said:

"The new Health boards face a huge challenge in delivering a first class health service for Wales in the face of an accumulated structural deficit across the country of £200 million. There is a danger that the first few years of their existence will be dominated by cuts and closures instead of investment and improvement.

I hope that this handover occurs as smoothly as possible, however, I still have concerns about the working relationship between local councils and the new health bodies and how locally accountability will be achieved whilst the Minister pulls the strings centrally. " " There are numerous challenges that these new bodies will have to face from day one, particularly in relation to working with the Welsh Ambulance Service to reduce ambulance response times, tackle the shortage of acute beds and reduce delays at accident and emergency departments. I only hope that they are up to it.