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Reform plan for Welsh NHS

3rd April 2008

Plans have been revealed for a major restructuring of the NHS in Wales.

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Proposals put forward by the Welsh Assembly Government see the number of local health boards (LHBs) in the country reduced to eight from the present 22 and an end to the “internal market� in the NHS in Wales.

Funding under the plan, which is now out for a three-month consultation, would in future come direct from the assembly government or via an NHS Board for Wales directly to hospital trusts and LHBs.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said the aim was to “improve patient care and the patient experience� and to have “administrative arrangements for the NHS that are effective.�

The planned new LHBs would be Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham; Anglesey and Gwynedd; Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire; Powys; Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea; Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan; Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf; and Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen.

The move comes only five years after the five health authorities covering Wales were abolished to be replaced by the current 22 LHBs by the then health minister Jane Hutt.

The Conservatives in Wales say the move is an “embarrassing climbdown� for Labour, which introduced the present structure in 2003.

Conservative health spokesman Jonathan Morgan said: “Edwina Hart has been forced to try and repair the damage caused to the NHS by her colleague Jane Hutt.�

The Liberal Democrats said they felt the current system was not sustainable but want any new system to keep strong links with local authorities.

 

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