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Nhs Trusts

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 5 November 1997

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9.

What progress has been made by his Department in reducing the number of NHS trusts in Wales. [12383]

The Welsh Office is currently consulting on proposals to create a single ambulance trust for Wales, and hon. Members for Welsh constituencies will have received a copy of the consultation document. In addition, a finalised plan for reviewing the number and shape of the other NHS trusts in Wales is due to be completed by April 1999. The document was distributed on 30 September. A copy of the project plan has also been placed in the Library of the House.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. How will he get round the problem that will be caused in the Cardiff area by the likely proposal to merge the two big hospital trusts, University Hospital of Wales and Llandough, given that their expected deficit at the end of this financial year will be more than £7.5 million? That is equivalent to 35 per cent. of the total expected deficit of all the trusts in Wales. Does my hon. Friend agree that in the Cardiff area it is not so much a question of NHS trusts as NHS bust?

I have every confidence that the management of both trusts will be able to bring the projected deficits down this year and will continue to ensure that their trusts perform well for their patients and in terms of financial efficiency. As for which trusts may or may not combine, or the shape of services after 1999, I have no predictions to make.