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North Wales health board warned it faces crucial few months

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Mar 25th, 2019.

A health board which has been in special measures for almost four years has been warned it faces a crucial few months amid a deficit of £42 million.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed under the highest level of monitoring by the Welsh Government in June 2015 following serious concerns about its performance.

After reviewing that position last month, Health Minister Vaughan Gething chose not to remove the North Wales organisation from special measures after highlighting outstanding issues, particularly around its finances.

A report due to go before the board later this week shows it is predicted to have overspent by £42m in the current financial year which ends this month.

Health bosses have partly blamed cost pressures around mental health care and care packages for people who have ongoing needs for the large sum.

The chief executive of NHS Wales has recently written to the board criticising the lack of progress it has made in addressing the problems raised.

In his letter Andrew Goodall said: “As you are aware, under the Joint Escalation and Intervention Arrangements, the Welsh Government meets with the Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales twice a year to discuss the overall assessment of each health board and trust in relation to the arrangements.

“On the basis of the tripartite group discussion, Welsh Government officials recommended to the minister that the escalation status of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board would remain unchanged at ‘special measures’.

“The group were disappointed to note there has been limited progress on key issues under the special measures framework and that there had been deterioration in some, particularly around finance and performance, with you reporting you are not going to achieve your finance control total.

“There is continuing concern around the lack of the necessary pace for change.

“The organisation has been in special measures for three and a half years and the progress made is not what we would have expected in the finance, planning and performance areas.

“The coming months will be critical for you and the organisation to show that you are able to improve and achieve sustainability.”

Board members will meet in Wrexham on Thursday to discuss the progress made in meeting targets set for the organisation to leave special measures.

They will all receive a financial update highlighting the projected deficit for the end of the current financial year.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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