Patients and their carers will be able to access tailored information ahead of planned surgery as part of wide-ranging new plans to use innovative technology to tackle the COVID-19 backlog.
Patients will also be able to better understand their expected wait and clinicians will be able to link patients to the most-appropriate personalised support in preparation for their treatment.
This could include advice on prevention services such as smoking cessation or diet and exercise plans to make sure they are fighting fit for surgery, to reduce cancellations, to prevent deterioration, and to help patients recover as quickly as possible.
The measures forms part of wide-ranging plans to tackle the backlog of elective care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which also includes the rollout of more than 100 community diagnostic centres across the country and extra surgical hubs, all backed by billion pounds of additional government investment.
This platform, combined with our record funding to tackle the backlog and invest in innovative diagnosis and treatment, will help us ensure access to life-changing care and support for people, no matter who they are or where they live
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “At the height of the pandemic the NHS rightly focused on treating COVID-19 patients, but sadly it has meant waiting lists have risen; and the COVID backlog is going to keep rising.
“This platform, combined with our record funding to tackle the backlog and invest in innovative diagnosis and treatment, will help us ensure access to life-changing care and support for people, no matter who they are or where they live.
“NHS providers will be able to upload supportive information to the platform to help patients manage their conditions while they wait for treatment.”
A third of on-the-day cancellations are due to patients not being clinically ready for treatment, such as having a long-term condition including diabetes or high blood pressure which has not been diagnosed or properly managed.
The platform, which will go live later this month, will initially be accessible via nhs.uk, enabling patients, family members, carers, and clinicians to access information at any point of their care pathway.
In the longer term it is expected the service will be delivered via the NHS App.
This follows Javid’s announcement last week on a national war on cancer with the launch of a call for evidence to inform a new 10-year plan to improve cancer care, speed up diagnosis, and invest in innovative new treatments.
The timetable for investment
The Government has provided an extra £5.4billion to the NHS to respond to COVID-19 up to April, taking the total extra COVID-19 funding to health and care services to over £34billion this year
The extra £5.4 billion funding is broken down into:
- £2.8billion for COVID-19 costs including infection control measures
- £600m for day-to-day costs
- £478m for enhanced hospital discharge
- £1.5billion for elective recovery, including £500m capital funding to increase theatre capacity and use of technology
And, at the Spending Review, the Government also announced an extra £5.9billion of capital to support elective recovery, diagnostics, and technology over the next three years. This includes:
- £1.5billion towards elective recovery by expanding capacity through new surgical hubs
- £2.1billion to modernise digital technology on the frontline, improve cyber security, and improve the NHS’s use of data and redesign care pathways
- £2.3billion to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and to roll out at least 100 Community Diagnostic Centres (CDC) by 2024-25 to help clear backlogs of people waiting for clinical tests, such as MRIs, ultrasounds, and CT (Computerised Tomography) scans