Image caption Vaughan Gething said he was "intensely concerned in the decline in performance" in some areas in the health board

The health secretary has told AMs he is "exasperated" with a lack of progress at a health board in special measures.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales has been under the highest level of Welsh Government supervision for three years.

Vaughan Gething said he was concerned at the decline in performance in waiting times, unscheduled care and financial planning and management.

Despite progress elsewhere "significant challenges remain", he told the Senedd.

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In a statement to AMs, Mr Gething said there had been progress in improving performance some areas, including in meeting mental health targets and restructuring the mental health team.

One of the major reasons for the health board going into special measure - maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd - was "de-escalated" as an issue earlier this year, he said.

But he added: "Despite the investment and progress in some key areas significant challenges remain.

"In the last 12 months the Welsh Government has escalated the level of intervention in finance and some areas of performance due to substantial concerns on referral to treatment waiting times, unscheduled care, and financial planning and management.

"I'm intensely concerned in the decline in performance in these areas, and generally exasperated with the pace of progress by the health board by the milestones set for the first part of this calendar year, and the continued lack of clarity of its plans for the future."

He said a recent report by Hascas and a review by Deloitte "both highlighted continued concerns on governance, clinical leadership and service redesign".

Mark Polin, former chief constable of North Wales Police, is to take over as chairman of the health board in September.

Image caption Darren Millar said imporvement was not being seen by patients

Tory AM Darren Millar said: "I do regret that that improvement is not being discerned by many of the patients in north Wales, and I think the statistics speak for themselves".

"This is a health board that was put into special measures three years ago, and yet, over that period of three years, it has deteriorated in terms of its performance in its emergency department against the four-hour target; it has deteriorated in terms of the 12-hour target; the referral-to-treatment times have gotten worse for the 26-week target," he said.

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth said: "There have been three years now since special measures were put in place and your statement is quite honest, truth be told, that very little progress has been made over those past three years."