Five-year plan for Gwent health spending
10:39am Monday 14th October 2013 in News
HEALTH bosses are drawing up a five-year spending plan for essential maintenance and replacement equipment projectsfor the NHS in Gwent, to try to make the best use of a shrinking budget.
Wales’ health boards get an annual discretionary capital funding budget through the Welsh Government, to pay for such projects and also to ensure hospitals and other buildings comply with fire safety and other statutory measures.
The amount has been subject to cuts in recent years, and currently stands at £5,676,000 a year, though this annual award is unlikely to increase for the foreseeable future, meaning it decreases in real terms.
In Gwent, based on an unprioritised wishlist, discretionary capital funding would be overspent by more than £5m over the next three years. Now, Aneurin Bevan Health Board has developed a draft five-year plan, which assumes the basic annual award remains the same, but adds £200,000 a year as income from the disposal of no longer needed properties, a proportion of which it is allowed to keep and reinvest.
The aim will be to only support projects that: Help sustain the delivery of services to patients; that ensure legally required standards – such as fire safety measures – are complied with; that can be provided on an ‘invest to save’ basis, where funds are provided upfront then paid back through savings as a result of changes or improvements.
The draft five-year plan assumes a £650,000 a year spend on statutory maintenance, and a separate £125,000 spend on fire safety work. It also assumes a £500,000 spend on high priority equipment replacement during 2014/15, and £1 million a year for the four years thereafter.
Another rolling programme, to refurbish hospital wards, is allocated £335,000 next year, then £500,000 a year up to and including 2018/19.
An ongoing programme of radiology equipment replacement is predicted at £385,000-500,000 a year, and x-ray tube replacement is allocated £50,000 a year.
Funding for one-off projects is not detailed beyond 2014/15, but schemes for that year include: £775,000 for replacement equipment for heart diagnostics at the cardiac catheterisation laboratory; £326,000 for a Women’s Health Unit (at the Royal Gwent Hospital); £300,000 for a lithotripter, which breaks up kidney stones and gallstones through shock waves; £250,000 for a specialist rheumatology scanner.
Unforeseen equipment failure or changes to statutory maintenance guidelines may mean some priorities have to change.
So far, more than half of the £29.4m discretionary capital funding predicted over the next five years has been earmarked for projects in the draft plan.
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