NORTH Wales’ health board, Betsi Cadwaladr, will be leaving special measures after more than five years.

The health board will be de-escalated from special measures to targeted intervention with immediate effect. Services including maternity and out-of-hours, have already come out of special measures in 2019.

Health and social services minister Vaughan Gething said: “I have decided that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will come out of special measures and move into targeted intervention.

“My decision is informed by the advice I received following a meeting between the Chief Exec of NHS Wales, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and Audit Wales.

“We have seen improvements across the health board and have greater confidence that it will make further progress. Throughout the pandemic the organisation has worked hard to play its role in caring for people affected by the virus.

“During what has been an unsettling time for public health across the world, I’m pleased to announce this positive news for North Wales and NHS Wales.”

Mr Gething shared his thanks to everyone at the health board who contributed to improving services.

He continued: “The progress has only been made because of the commitment and hard work of our staff.

“Whilst there has been improvement, there are still areas of concern such as mental health and the health board fully recognises there is still further work to do. Targeted intervention is still a heightened level of escalation that requires significant action on the part of the health board.

“The Welsh Government has committed a further £82m per year over three-and-a-half years to support the health board as it enters a new phase under targeted intervention and continues its ongoing work to improve. This substantial investment will be used to improve unscheduled care; build sustainable planned care, including orthopaedics; and deliver improvements in mental health services.”

The health board is understandably pleased to move out of special measures immediately.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Chair, Mark Polin, and Acting Chief Executive, Gill Harris, issued a joint statement following the news.

They said: “We welcome this significant announcement and the continued support from the Welsh Government. The growing confidence in our plans to make long-term strategic improvements while recognising that there is much more to do is encouraging.

“The package of support recently announced by the Welsh Government will help us build on the development of transformational and sustainable solutions to long-term challenges in unscheduled care, diagnostics, planned care and mental health services.

“We are confident that our ambitious plans for the future will improve patient experience and waiting times. This includes establishing Diagnostic and Treatment Centres and steering a business case for a Medical and Health Sciences School in North Wales.

“We are extremely proud of the way colleagues across the organisation have risen to the challenge of COVID-19 and have demonstrated positivity, resilience and commitment to patients in the most difficult of conditions. We thank them for everything they have done to care for patients and keep our communities safe.

"There is much more work ahead but we are confident that, with the support of our staff, partners and the public, the necessary transformation to health services in North Wales will be achieved."