More London patients benefitting from hospital-level care at home

More London patients benefitting from hospital-level care at home

New figures out today show that London has around 1,800 ‘virtual ward’ beds, which means more people than ever are being cared for in their own home or other out-of-hospital settings.

Virtual wards enable patients to get the hospital-level care they need at home, safely and conveniently – preventing avoidable hospital admissions and enabling people to leave hospital sooner whenever possible, while still having regular contact with health professionals.

Currently 1,000 patients are benefitting from completing their treatment in the relaxed setting of their own home, which reduces their stress levels, and provides improved recovery, while still being cared for by a multidisciplinary team who can oversee a range of tests and treatments.

NHS London chief nurse Jane Clegg said: “A virtual ward is a safe and efficient alternative to a hospital bed, enabling the NHS to care for patients who would otherwise be in hospital, so they receive the acute care and treatment they need in their own home.

“Virtual wards are essential to the successful future of the NHS. Simple technology, such as apps ad sensors, enables medical staff to remotely monitor patients. Virtual wards reduce the pressure on hospital beds, either by preventing admission or reducing length of stay.”

Notes to editors

  • The number of virtual ward beds per 100,000 GP-registered people in London is on average around 20.
  • The total number of virtual ward beds in London is just over 1,800 and roughly 1,000 patients are currently being cared for in virtual wards in London.
  • This compares to around 2.5 hospital available beds per 1,000 people across the country, highlighting the fact that virtual wards are a possible solution to the lack of available hospital beds.
  • Patients considered for discharge to virtual wards include those with long-term conditions which need timely assessment and intensive support