The pending reorganisation of the Welsh health service should be used to improve financial management, the auditor general for Wales has said.

Jeremy Colman said employees' responsibility for good finance must be made clear in the new NHS bodies to be created by the restructure.

Minister for health and social services Edwina Hart will announce proposals for consultation on the plans within the next month. They are expected to merge the eight existing acute trusts and 22 local health boards into seven or eight new organisations, eliminating the internal market.

Mr Colman, speaking after the publication of his report Are the Devolved Financial Management Arrangements in NHS Wales Effective? last week, said the major shake-up should involve "putting the right people in the right posts".

Understanding decisions

Financial management needed to "take a step or two up", he said. "[The reorganisation] is an opportunity to make clear to people your role is one that includes finance. I want every manager to have an understanding of their decisions."

The Welsh Audit Office report found financial performance had improved in 2007-08 when trusts' total deficit was£3m, down from£14m and£26m in the previous two years.

Local health boards met their resource limits in 2007-08, though only after the government made an additional£24m available late in the financial year. Some trusts will be expected to repay this in the current financial year.

An Assembly government spokesperson said: "We are pleased with the progress made last year, but recognise that further work needs to be done."

HSJ's Change Management conference is on 22 October in London.