Recent figures have revealed that the NHS has delivered on its promise to roll out 10,000 virtual ward beds by the end of September.
Thanks to this world-leading initiative, over 240,000 patients have received treatment on virtual wards. NHS teams have introduced 10,421 virtual ward beds, allowing patients to receive expert care for conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, or frailty conditions in the comfort of their homes. Research shows that people treated at home recover at an equal or faster rate than those treated in hospital.
Despite significant demand on urgent and emergency care, September marked a record-breaking month for ambulance services and the busiest for A&E staff with 2,165,741 attendances, representing an increase of almost 8% on the same month last year.
Regardless of there being six days of industrial action in August, the NHS has successfully treated 10% more patients (1,422,225) in comparison to the same month pre-pandemic (1,292,163 in August 2019). This achievement can be attributed to the dedicated efforts of the staff.
The virtual ward programme is a huge achievement in allowing the NHS to provide hospital-level treatment to patients in their own home. They offer patients the opportunity to receive hospital-level care in the comfort and safety of their own home, which not only accelerates their recovery but also makes hospital beds available for those in the greatest need.
Patients undergo daily assessments as part of a 'ward round,' either in person at home or virtually. Different types of care are delivered to patients, including blood tests, prescribing medication, or administering fluids through an IV drip. Additionally, technology like apps, wearables, and medical devices is employed to facilitate easy monitoring and check-ins on their recovery progress by the medical staff.
The NHS is embracing the latest technology, incorporating daily 'ward rounds' with local clinicians, thereby ensuring that hospital beds are available for those in critical need. This achievement stands as a testament to the dedication of NHS staff across the country, as they successfully deployed over 10,000 virtual ward beds by the end of September.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay said, “We have delivered on our promise to roll out 10,000 hospital-at-home places by winter – a key target in our Urgent and Emergency Care Recovery Plan and a testament to the hard work of NHS staff”.
“These ‘hospitals at home’ will speed up recovery times for patients and help cut waiting lists”.
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