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Savings of £300m have been made but NHS spending must be cut further

The detailed picture for end-of-year finances won’t become clear for another few weeks, but recent indications show that health boards have made savings of £300m during 2011-12. This is a huge achievement for NHS staff – all of whom have had a role to play.

he savings the NHS has made this year were achieved through a range of measures designed to improve efficiency without compromising services for patients.

The NHS knows it must keep within its budget as it meets the ever increasing demand for health services at the same time as improving the quality, safety and timeliness of care.

That means the NHS in Wales will be required to make 5% savings every year for the next three years.

For example, health boards saved £49m by finding better ways of buying prescription medicines and £66m by joining up how stocks and equipment are ordered across different departments and organisations.

The expertise and advice of clinicians will be central to how we respond to this question, and a lot of work is going on to gather their views on how we deliver the best service possible within the resources available.

The NHS has a demanding 12 months ahead, but hopefully, by next April, we will be reflecting on another year of improving care while living within our means.

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