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Jobs and Skills Boost for Liverpool City Region as Local Growth Fund Projects Smash Targets

THE number of jobs and training opportunities created through projects funded through the Local Growth Fund has far outstripped forecasts, according to Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram.

Over the last financial year, through Local Growth Fund projects alone, the Combined Authority has created 2,045 new jobs, including 526 new apprenticeships, against a target of 1,519. Around 4,100 people have also started new skills courses, against a target of 2,889.

Mayor Rotheram announced in 2021 that the £313m Local Growth Fund had committed to nearly 200 projects, that will eventually create more than 18,000 new jobs and £225m of additional investment.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "The beauty of devolution is the significant tangible impact that local decision making has on communities across our Region. Rather than civil servants in Whitehall or politicians in Westminster deciding how money is spent here, local people, who understand our needs and ambitions, are in control. I want to make sure that every pound we spend is going towards creating a better, fairer future for the 1.6 million people who call it their home. The difference we've made through the Local Growth Fund is testament to that. I've set an ambitious target to create 18,000 new jobs and generate an additional £225m worth of investment in our economy by 2025; because for too long, too many in our Region have been held back, not because of a lack of ambition, but a lack of opportunity. Investments like this offer a promise of hope to people; that there is a brighter future ahead."

Local Growth Fund projects will run until 2024/25 and have already delivered 9,811 jobs and over £187m of private sector investment, in addition to £108m of further public sector investment.

Projects backed by the Combined Authority include the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre, Liverpool's City Centre Connectivity scheme and the construction of a new train Station, at Maghull North; the 1st new Station on the Merseyrail network in a generation.

The Government awarded a total of £313m over 3 Growth Deals to the Liverpool City Region between 2015 and 2021 for capital projects that will benefit the local area and economy. The funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and then invested through the Combined Authority's Strategic Investment Fund.

Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:- "I am delighted that the latest figures on Local Growth Fund investment have so far exceeded its targets in creating jobs and supporting new learners. As we know it is essential for our economy that we not only create new jobs but we support people to gain new skills to be able to access these and other opportunities for our future growth. These figures also highlight just how important the Local Growth Fund has been and demonstrate how devolving decision making, resources and responsibilities from Government to local leadership has enabled us to unlock our Region's potential. Back in 2014 the LEP, working with both the private and public sector, identified what investment was needed to accelerate our economy such as the Liverpool City Centre connectivity; building on our freight and logistics hub capabilities; our ambition to be energy self-sufficient, as well as priorities in skills, innovation and business and I am immensely proud that the vision and priorities we set out back then are coming to fruition for the good of our City Region."

The Combined Authority has used the funding to pay for a diverse range of projects that have benefitted the entire City Region.

Split between transport, skills, and business growth, the Local Growth Fund has supported nearly 200 projects across all 6 of Liverpool City Region's Local Authorities.

Patients in England will have early access to cutting edge treatments on NHS

NHS patients in England will have early access to potentially life saving and cutting edge treatments thanks to a new fund which was launched on Tuesday, 7 June 2022.

Up to £340 million has been made available through the Innovative Medicines Fund to purchase the most promising medicines and fast track them to patients to give adults and children the best chances of survival, recovery or a healthier, longer life.

The fund, which meets a manifesto commitment, will further support NHS England in offering patients potentially transformative new drugs while further real world evidence is collected to inform a final decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on whether the treatment is clinically and cost effective and a good use of taxpayer money in the long term, reducing delays and boosting patient outcomes in the interim.

Examples of previous medicines which patients have accessed in a similar way through managed access agreements include a treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy and a treatment to slow the progression of a life limiting metabolic disorder.

It builds on the success of the reformed Cancer Drugs Fund which, in the past 5 years, has provided more than 80,000 people access to life extending or potentially life saving drugs which might otherwise not have been available for years.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:- "I want NHS patients to be the 1st in the world to access the most promising and revolutionary treatments that could extend or save their lives. The launch of the Innovative Medicines Fund delivers another manifesto pledge and will fast-track cutting edge medicines to adults and children to give people renewed hope for a better future."

A total of £680 million has been ringfenced for the Innovative Medicines Fund and Cancer Drugs Fund; £340 million each; to fast-track medicines to NHS patients.

An estimated 1 in 17 people in England will be affected by a rare disease in their lifetime. The Innovative Medicines Fund will provide quick access to novel treatments, including potentially lifesaving gene therapies for serious conditions with few treatment options. It often takes longer for pharmaceutical companies to collect data on a medicine's clinical and cost effectiveness for rare diseases due to the smaller patient cohort. Rather than making patient's wait until this date is available, this new scheme will allow access while this important process takes place, with support from NHSE and NICE.

NHS Commercial Medicines Director, Blake Dark, said:- "The NHS continues to be a pioneer in striking deals and rolling out the latest cutting edge drugs and treatments. This new Innovative Medicines Fund will build on the success of the Cancer Drugs Fund, enabling more patients to benefit from early access to the most promising cancer and non-cancer medicines. The NHS Long Term Plan shows we are committed to adopting NICE approved treatments at the earliest opportunity and £680 million of ringfenced funding will help provide faster access to promising new drugs and ensure the NHS remains at the forefront of securing the best revolutionary treatments for patients."

It is hoped improving access to treatment for those patients most in need will help alleviate pressure on the NHS, supporting wider efforts to tackle the Covid backlog.

All medicines deployed through the Innovative Medicines Fund and Cancer Drugs Fund will have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after meeting high standards of safety and quality and will have been recommended as suitable for the IMF by NICE.

Chief executive of NICE Dr Samantha Roberts said:- "I am delighted that NICE has been able to play a key role, alongside NHS England and NHS Improvement, to create this important new initiative to give people earlier and faster access to promising new innovations in treatment. This fund, like the Cancer Drugs Fund, will help us more quickly identify and make available transformational new treatments that will bring real benefits to thousands of people and offer high value to the NHS."

The Innovative Medicines Fund supports the Government's Rare Diseases Action Plan to ensure people living with rare conditions benefit from faster diagnosis, treatments and support to manage their conditions.

Following a public call for evidence, the Government is also developing a 10 Year Cancer Plan to make England a world-leader in cancer care, with renewed attention paid to innovative treatment and early diagnosis to improve outcomes for patients.

Search is on to find top UK veterinary nurse of 2022

BLUE Cross has opened nominations for its annual search for the UK's 'Veterinary Nurse Of The Year' and is calling on pet owners and veterinary practices to put forward their star Vet Nurses. The charity's award recognises the dedication of the country's Vet Nurses and their invaluable support to their veterinary teams, the nation's pets and pet owners. The award is given to a Vet Nurse who not only cares for sick and injured pets, but goes the extra mile to encourage responsible pet ownership and improve pet welfare in their community.

The awards will be presented at the British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) Annual Congress which takes place from:- 7 October to 9 October 2022, at Telford International Centre, in Shropshire.

Last year's Veterinary Nurse Of The Year Award was presented to Rachel Bourne of the Broughton Veterinary Group in Broughton Astley, Leicestershire who was nominated as "a true animal advocate and challenges the veterinary team to consistently improve standards of care, through Cat friendly clinics, improved pain management, post operative care and monitoring to name just a few."

Kelly Grellier, Chief Operating Officer at Blue Cross said:- "Blue Cross is proud to offer this reward in appreciation of the commitment of Vet Nurses across the UK who work tirelessly to improve the lives of our pets, other animals and their owners. We are looking for Vet Nurses who really go that extra mile to support pet owners in their communities who have a significant impact in improving the nation's animal welfare."

To nominate a Vet Nurse who has gone the extra mile and made a significant contribution to animal welfare, complete the nomination form on:- BlueCross.Org.UK. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, 31 August 2022.

2022 is the 125th Anniversary of Blue Cross, originally:- 'Our Dumb Friends League.' The charity formed to help vulnerable pets and their owners and we continue this work today across our re-homing, clinical, animal behaviour, pet bereavement support and educational work. We are striving to be able to help even more pets in the future live healthy lives in happy homes. Blue Cross relies on the support and donations of pet lovers to continue our vital work, to find out more and make a donation online.

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