Will the Trefnydd make a statement, please, on procurement in the Welsh health service in terms of its adherence, really, to local procurement in Wales? With health boards currently reporting a £90.4 million overspend for 2018-19, it is clear that finances are teetering on the brink. I was really disappointed, therefore, to learn quite recently that potentially more expensive blood glucose meters and test strips are being procured across Wales. For example, I understand that the cost of strips currently being purchased by the Welsh NHS are actually costing in the region of 70 per cent more than is necessary and that these can actually be procured locally in north Wales by a company that is encountering significant difficulties in being accepted on the preferred list. Now, this is despite the fact that they supply their products internationally and are used in the health sector across other parts of the UK. Given the potential to save money and support Welsh business, I would be pleased if you would be willing to investigate this situation more should I provide you with more information, and explain what steps you are taking to ensure that all procurement in our health service is based on a measure of value for money that also fits in with the principles of local Welsh procurement.
Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd:
Thank you for raising that. Of course, you'll be aware of the statement that the First Minister made in September regarding the National Procurement Service and Value Wales and the importance that we put on good procurement practice across Wales. You mentioned the state of NHS finances, and the current NHS forecast represents a material improvement from the 2017-18 outturn, and, again, we would look forward to continued improvement next year. NHS organisations collectively have made over £1.5 billion-worth of efficiency savings since the new organisations were established at the beginning of the decade. And, in the last financial year, over two thirds of these savings of 71 per cent were found on a recurrent basis and we would expect that to be maintained in 2018-19.
On the specific issue of the blood glucose strips, if you do send me some further information, I'd be certainly happy to explore that with the health Minister.