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Financial statements a 'true and fair' reflection of NHS Wales' finances

27 August 2020
  • The Auditor General has published an infographic on the NHS (Wales) summarised accounts for 2019-20.


    Our new infographic, published today by the Auditor General, consolidates the results of the 11 Welsh NHS bodies and provides a summary of its finances.

    Public sector financial accounting and reporting requirements are detailed and complex. Our new infographic provides a straightforward, accessible summary, highlighting key aspects of the accounts and assurances provided as part of our audit.

    Our infographic explains how public money is being used by the NHS in Wales and provides a summary of the NHS bodies’ financial performance. Our NHS summary covers seven local health boards, three NHS Trusts and one special health authority.

    As shown by the infographic, the NHS in Wales is funded primarily by the Welsh Government, and in 2019-20 it spent £8.7 billion. It employs 83,000 people working in the community, in hospital settings and in support services.

    This is a new format we are presenting financial accounts data for the public sector, to make the information more understandable for the general public. The NHS accounts infographic is the first we plan to publish before the end of 2020. Welsh Government and local government (all 22 local authorities) accounts infographics will be published in a similar format later this year.

    The NHS Wales summarised accounts for 2019-20 are true and fair, but four Welsh NHS bodies failed to meet their financial duty to break-even over a three-year period. These four bodies had accumulated deficits of £354 million over the last three years. The 2019-20 deficit was £89 million, compared to £96 million the previous year. In terms of our new infographic, I’m pleased that we have come up with a visual representation of the NHS accounts and I look forward to seeing what the picture looks like for the upcoming local government accounts and Welsh Government accounts that will follow this autumn.

    Notes to Editors:

    •  The finances of NHS Wales have been brought together in one set of accounts for the first time in 2019-20. This new format of presenting data is new for Audit Wales and we plan to publish the 2019-20 accounts for local (including all 22 local authorities) and central government in a similar format before the end of 2020.
    • The Auditor General is the independent statutory external auditor of the devolved Welsh public sector. He is responsible for the annual audit of the majority of the public money spent in Wales, including the £20 billion of funds that are voted on annually by the Welsh Parliament. Elements of this funding are passed by the Welsh Government to the NHS in Wales (over £8 billion) and to local government (over £4 billion).
    • The audit independence of the Auditor General is of paramount importance. He is appointed by the Queen, and his audit work is not subject to direction or control by the Welsh Parliament or government. 
    • The Wales Audit Office (WAO) is a corporate body consisting of a nine member statutory Board which employs staff and provides other resources to the Auditor General, who is also the Board’s Chief Executive and Accounting Officer. The Board monitors and advises the Auditor General, regarding the exercise of his functions.
    • Audit Wales is the umbrella name for the Auditor General for Wales and the Wales Audit Office. Audit Wales is a registered trademark, but it is not a legal entity in itself.