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Betsi Cadwaladr health board waiting times 'could halve'

From BBC - December 4, 2017

The number of patients waiting more than nine months for hospital treatment across north Wales should halve by March, the health secretary has said.

Vaughan Gething's ambitious prediction comes amid growing concern about higher than average waiting times at Wales' largest health board, Betsi Cadwaladr.

Betsi is in special measures and faces a 36m deficit this financial year.

The health board said demand had outstripped capacity in some areas resulting in long waiting times.

The latest referral to treatment figures for September showed 9% of patients waited longer than nine months, more than double the Welsh average of 4.4%.

By comparison, 1.2% of patients were kept waiting that long in Cardiff and Vale.

But for the first time in north Wales, more than 11% were kept waiting between six and nine months. The proportion of patients treated within six months also dipped below 80%.

Betsi has been in special measures, the highest state of intervention by the Welsh Government, for two-and-a-half years.

'Unacceptable increase'

Mr Gething noted improvement in areas such as maternity and the effectiveness of the board, but said he had been disappointed by the escalation of performance and financial problems over the past six months.

"These are plans the health board has submitted with both additional capacity within the health board itself but also extra capacity outside of north Wales too," he told BBC Wales.

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