Wales

Betsi Cadwaladr health board still faces 'challenges'

Betsi Cadwaladr hospitals in north Wales

The health board for north Wales has said it still needs to tackle waiting time issues and overspending, a year after being placed in special measures.

The move was prompted by "institutional abuse" at a mental health ward in Denbighshire's Glan Clwyd Hospital.

Betsi Cadwaladr health board's chairman said it has "new energy" and could be out of special measures next year.

The Welsh Government said positive progress has been made but more improvements are required.

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said: "It's clear that the health board still faces challenges and has a lot of work to do before it can come out of special measures.

"I have been impressed by the commitment shown and the positive attitude and efforts of staff to meet the challenges they face and deliver the improvements needed.

"I said last October that it would take some time for the health board to deliver the required improvements, but the signs of progress are encouraging."

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Media captionHealth Secretary Vaughan Gething says there is no deadline for Betsi Cadwaladr coming out of special measures

The decision to place the health board in special measures saw its former chief executive stand down and a new management team put in place.

The board's chairman Peter Higson said he believed progress was being made.

"Special measures seems to have unlocked quite a lot of energy among staff. Staff really want to make the board work and want to see the improvements themselves," he said.

Priorities

Mr Higson said priorities for the board were tackling waiting times for patients and balancing the health board's books.

The board ended the financial year with a £20m overspend on its budget of £1.2bn.

"We did end the year with quite a significant number of people waiting longer than they should do, particularly in orthopaedics.

"We've got to tackle those, we've got to look at our underlying financial position."

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