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NHS has launched an online platform to empower patients as they wait for care

MILLIONS of patients on the waiting list for NHS care will be able to access support and check wait times at their fingertips thanks to a new online platform. Built in conjunction with patient groups, My Planned Care is 1 of the latest measures in a major package of moves by the NHS to tackle the Covid backlog. The platform will allow patients and their carers to access information ahead of their planned appointment, operation or treatment through the touch of a button.

In this 1st stage, around 5.5 million patients; of the 6 million on the total waiting list; will be able to search on the site to find the average waiting time at their local Hospital for the specialist area they need treatment in.

Data from 137 NHS Trusts across England will be on the site, hosted by NHS.UK, just 2 weeks after the Elective Recovery Plan was published.

The platform will be expanded in the coming months to include personalised advice and support for patients on the waiting list to help people stay well while they wait and get ready for surgery, including advice on how best to manage symptoms.

Future expansion of the service will also include advice on stopping smoking as well as on diet and exercise, to support patients prior to surgery and help them recover as quickly as possible.

NHS staff will also be encouraged to consider how they can draw on social prescribing link workers and care co-ordinators to support patients while they are waiting for care.

Targeted packages of support will also be rolled out to support those patients waiting for procedures with the longest waits or those with the greatest need.

GPs and Primary Care teams will also be able to access the information helping them to have more informed conversations with their patients.

The Elective Recovery Plan set out a blueprint of measures to address backlogs built up during the Pandemic and tackle long waits for care with an expansion in capacity for tests, checks and treatments.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:- "This 1 of its kind platform will give millions of patients more certainty over their own care no matter who they are or where they live. Alongside new surgical hubs to ramp up operations and Community Diagnostic Centres to provide faster diagnoses closer to home, the My Planned Care platform will help us put patients in control. The NHS is here for you and we want people to come forward, with this site offering crucial advice ahead of appointments and operations. It's part of our plan to tackle the COVID backlog, backed by record investment to deliver 9 million more treatments, scans and operations by 2024."

Professor Stephen Powis, national Medical Director, at NHS England, said:- "Treating more than 600,000 Covid patients, in Hospital, over the last 2 years has inevitably had an impact on routine care and staff are doing everything they can to reduce the backlogs that have inevitably built up. We know that it can be frustrating for patients who are waiting and so this online site will help to give patients and their families crucial information about how long they might have to wait, helping them feel more informed about their treatment plan. And, as we have always said throughout the Pandemic, it is vitally important that anybody who has health concerns continues to come forward, so that the NHS can help you get the care you need."

The NHS is committed to improving patient experience and giving people greater control over their own health, and the My Planned Care platform has been developed rapidly to help deliver this service for patients.

My Planned Care forms part of wide ranging plans to address the backlog, with more surgical hubs to be added to the network of 122 already operating across the country.

More than 100 diagnostic community centres are also being rolled out with the NHS aiming to ensure that by March 2025, nobody waits longer than a year for surgery.

Latest data from the NHS shows that in the whole of 2021, over 2 million more people underwent procedures like hip and knee replacements compared to 2020.

Did you know it would take you 40 hours of work to attend just 1 wedding in Liverpool?

NEW research commissioned by leading fashion e-retailer Missguided has revealed how many hours Brits would need to work in order to attend a wedding in Liverpool. Surprisingly, Liverpool was not the most expensive place to attend a wedding. Coming in at 7th on the list, the research revealed it would take 40 hours of work (equivalent to around a full week of work), with the average cost of attending a wedding in Liverpool coming out at ₤621.33.

To calculate this number, average costs were calculated for:- travel, hotel stays, outfits and even the average cost of an alcoholic beverage, using a number of sources, including:- Numbeo, SurveyMonkey and ONS data.

From the data it was no surprise that the largest expense for a wedding guest was a man's suit for a wedding (₤196), closely followed by a hotel stay (₤172.70), with the cost of a wedding gift coming in as the third most expensive item (₤100). Other expenditures included a new outfit for a woman (₤80), a bottle of wine (₤27.90) , 5 pints of beer (₤25) and travel (₤19.73).

The research also found that Cheshire East was the most expensive place in the UK to attend a wedding. The average cost worked out at an astonishing ₤881.83, which equates to 56.5 hours of work. Westminster came in at a close 2nd with an average cost of ₤814.12, equating to 52.2 hours of work. While Manchester was third on the list.

Discussing the results, Vicky James, Head of Brand at Missguided, said:- "It's hard to RSVP "no" to a wedding, but the fact it can cost the same as a week's salary to attend 1 in the UK definitely puts things into perspective. We want to help customers find more affordable options that they can wear to a friend's wedding and any event after. Our occasion wear is designed with that in mind, so you're not just buying something you'll wear once. The Pandemic has impacted all areas of our lives, especially weddings, with so many couples having to cancel and rebook for this year, average prices have soared. We hope we can relieve some of the pressure of finding an outfit or help prevent last-minute splurging, by offering wearable styles that are perfect for all weddings from laid back ceremonies, to day 2 parties or more formal events"

The top 10 most expensive places to attend a wedding in the UK:-
Top 10 Area Cost Hours
1 Cheshire East ₤881.83 56.5
2 Westminster ₤814.12 52.2
3 Manchester ₤737.43 47.3
4 Northumberland ₤696.80 45
5 Cornwall ₤688.45 44.1
6 Leeds ₤627.58 40.2
7 Liverpool ₤621.33 40
8 Birmingham ₤597.04 38.2
9 County Durham ₤586.60 37.6
10 Shropshire  ₤580.75 37.2

To view the full research and methodology can be found on:- MissGuided.Co.UK. These figures presented within this reporter are based on the average national hourly wage, also based on 2 people attending a wedding.

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