Published: 13/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5905 Page 8 9

An Audit Commission study of health systems in Wales has concluded that they are 'out of balance', with too much resource spent on acute care.

Transforming Health and Social Care in Wales says that while spending on the NHS rose by 30 per cent in the three years ending March 2003, the number of patients waiting more than 12 months fell by just 288. The total number of outpatients waiting rose from 14,231 to 26,680 and the overall financial deficit rose from£58m to£100.6m.

Overall, the report endorses the direction set out for Wales in Derek Wanless's June 2003 review of health and social care in Wales, and in the Welsh Assembly's implementation plan which followed. It calls for increased specialisation in fewer acute hospitals, and more effective joint working within the NHS, and with other agencies.