The NHS in the UK has introduced an online matching platform, aimed at reducing waiting times for patients in need of treatment.

This platform enables NHS staff to access and allocate available surgery slots across various hospitals, including those in the independent sector.

Clinical teams can upload details of patients willing to travel for treatment, and both NHS and independent providers can then match patients with available slots.

Launched in January, the platform has already facilitated over 1,700 offers of support for patients.

Initially focused on hospital admissions, the system is expanding to include cancer treatment, diagnostic checks, and outpatient appointments.

The platform claims to be a crucial tool in the NHS’ efforts to address backlogs caused by the pandemic, with plans to eliminate 65-week wait times by April 2024.

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Patient information, including travel willingness, severity of illness, BMI, and wait time, help to guide the decision-making process for allocating cases.

NHS CEO Amanda Pritchard said: “Despite significant pressure on services, NHS staff have already made incredible progress against our elective recovery plan, and this smart new tool will help us to continue to reduce long waits for patients.

“It shows, once again, the benefits of having a national health service- NHS staff can now work even more closely with other hospitals across the country to identify capacity and conveniently match patients to available treatment and appointment slots.

“Technology is already transforming the way we work in the NHS and we will continue to embrace the latest innovations, like this one, to deliver the best possible care for patients.”