The Welsh Assembly government in UK is to pump in £100m-plus to strengthen the NHS in the state. The money will go to improve patient services, particularly in the field of palliative care.
As a review found large gaps in palliative care for people with life-long and terminal illnesses and a shortage of specialist staff, the Government will invest £8m to improve services over the course of three years.
AdvertisementNHS-based palliative care and services provided by the voluntary sector will get £1m this year, rising to £5m in 2010-11.
Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Health and Social Services Edwina Hart said that service level agreements would be established, setting out what palliative care services should be funded by the NHS and what should be funded by voluntary hospices.
"Palliative care cuts across all specialities and services have remained patchy across Wales," she said.
"That is why, once and for all, I wanted to establish what constitutes core palliative care services and a means for measuring the quality of those services.
"In order to address the inequalities of palliative care service provision I must be sure that public funding is directed to where it is needed most in order to ensure that patients and their carers receive the level of palliative care they expect to receive, when and where they expect to receive it."
The money, to be announced by Hart, includes £66m for a new hospital in Mountain Ash and £25.3m to redevelop mental health facilities in North Wales.
The minister said: "The NHS has seen significant investment in recent years in more staff, new equipment and buildings which has resulted in better and faster treatment for patients and improved working environment for staff.
"This latest investment shows my commitment to continually improving services for patients. It is fitting as we mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS that we are investing in its future."
The announcements come as the NHS prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Saturday.