The health service in parts of Wales is being 'left behind' due to differing levels of capital investment, according to the shadow health minister.

Russell George said the government must address a "rural-urban, north-south divide" in the way the nation's health boards are allocated capital funds.

Capital spending refers to money for things like new buildings and facilities, whereas revenue spending refer to the costs of running and maintaining day-to-day services.

Citing government figures, the Welsh Conservatives say differences in capital investment mean people in Powys and northern areas are effectively receiving hundreds of pounds less in health funding than those in some southern parts of Wales.

On average, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been given £344 capital funding per head of population over the past five years, while Hywel Dda in the west received a comparative £363 and Powys' health board £199.

The Welsh Conservatives say this falls well short of the comparative amounts budgeted to other health boards over the same time period. Swansea Bay received an average £510 capital funding per head of population, while Cardiff and Vale received £582 and the Gwent region's Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – where the new Grange hospital opened last year – received £788 per head.

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“Sadly, these figures show two things – rural and North Wales medical facilities are being left behind, with investment being directed elsewhere," Tory MS George said.  

“Labour ministers need to urgently level-up funding and investment in our health service and ensure hospitals right across Wales receive their fair share of funding so we can provide the 21st-century facilities our patients, staff and treasured service deserve.”

Darren Millar, the Tories' shadow minister for North Wales, called the spending figures a "further kick in the teeth" for the region and accused the government of "prioritis[ing] its heartlands...whilst ignoring the north".

The Welsh Government told The National that health boards were allocated £81 million in discretionary capital funding each year, and "develop their own priorities against the NHS Planning Framework and submit business cases" to ministers.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board received the second-highest allocation, a government spokesman said.

He added: “We are committed to providing everyone in Wales with the high quality care they need, wherever they live.

“We continue to work with and support healthcare services across Wales, and have recently committed £100 million for new equipment, staff, technology and ways of working to help health boards improve services across primary, community and hospital care.”

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