Six acute trusts across Wales are facing mergers after the Welsh Assembly launched a consultation on reconfiguration.

Welsh Assembly health minister Edwina Hart gave the go-ahead for consultation on the proposed reorganisation last week. If agreed the mergers will take place from 1 April 2008.

The proposed mergers are:

  • Pontypridd and Rhondda trust and North Glamorgan trust;
  • Pembrokeshire and Derwen. trust and Carmarthenshire trust;
  • Swansea trust and Bro Morgannwg trust.

Ms Hart said: 'By streamlining the management of these trusts the benefits of joint working will mean more robust financial management, greater strategic direction and better care for patients'.

The Welsh health service is heavily indebted and ended the financial year£71m in the red, a combination of historic debt and last year's deficit.

The total budget for the Welsh NHS is around£4.9bn. It has almost doubled since 1999. Last year seven trusts and two local health boards failed to meet their financial targets.

The trusts were: Carmarthenshire; Ceredigion and Mid Wales; Pembrokeshire and Derwen; Swansea; North East Wales; Gwent Healthcare; and North Glamorgan. The local health boards were Swansea and Ceredigion.