GWENT health chiefs are preparing to bid for a share of £2million in extra Welsh Government funding, targeted at improving endoscopy services.

Any money the health board can secure will help address backlogs in waiting lists of patients for diagnostic tests. And a report before Aneurin Bevan Health Board today (Wednesday) lays bare the multi-million pound shortfall it faces on a wish-list of capital schemes covering issues as diverse as equipment replacement – including endoscopy and other diagnostic equipment – health and safety requirements, fire prevention, and building and grounds maintenance.

Such projects are usually funded from discretionary capital funding, for which health boards receive £5.7million in each of the next two years, and £5.6million for the three years after that.

Between now and 2018/19, discretionary capital funding for Gwent’s health board will be about £28.5million.

That, however, is less than half £59.4million – the various divisions estimate they will need during that period to address the issues.

A prediction of a minimum £2.3million must be spent on statutory maintenance, fire safety work and x-ray tube replacement during that five years. Other demands on discretionary capital include reconfiguration of wards and departments including A&E at the Royal Gwent, car park improvements, and a project to help sustain neo-natal intensive care services.