Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Health and Social Care Committee

The health minister fiercely denied that an extra £82m announced for the NHS in Wales amounts to a "bailout" for health boards facing a shortfall of tens of millions of pounds this year.

Lesley Griffiths AM said on 5 December 2012 that the money was a response to what she called "unprecedented" pressures facing the NHS this year, particularly in emergency care.

But opposition politicians argued the minister had repeatedly warned that health boards had to live within their existing financial means and today's extra money was "clearly a bailout".

Committee chair Darren Millar AM challenged the minister saying:

"Minister, forgive me, but at the start of the year you made it quite clear that there would be no extra money for the NHS, you expected them to balance the books without any additional support, you made a statement to that effect on many occasions in the chamber.

"And yet we find ourselves approaching the year end with an enormous financial crisis because of the record breaking cuts being imposed by your government on the NHS and you having to dip back into your pocket in order to bail out these health boards to the tune of £82m."

Ms Griffiths defended her actions saying: "I gave them more money from within my own budget after prudent financial management.

"I've been very honest and upfront about it and this is money from my budget so I don't know how you can call it a 'bailout'."

Plaid Cymru AM Elin Jones stressed that she "did not want to get into a semantic debate about the use of 'bailout' or not, but it certainly feels as if we've been here before".

Health and Social Care Committee membership

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