Virtual wards in Kent and Medway are having a positive impact on patient care, report finds

22 May 2024

An innovative new approach to help patients recover from a hospital stay, or avoid one altogether, has been praised by independent evaluation.

Virtual wards launched across the south east, including in Kent and Medway, in April 2022.  Since then, more than 17,000 people in the county have been supported in the comfort of their own home.

A recent independent evaluation by PPL of the south east programme analysed 22,000 spells of care and found that virtual wards in south east England are associated with a positive impact.

Dr Ash Peshen, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, for NHS Kent and Medway, said: ‘’Virtual wards are an important part of our system’s approach to managing the increasing number of patients presenting to our A&Es. 

“We are continuing to improve the way patients are admitted to a virtual ward, including through developing our clinical co-ordination centres. These allow clinicians, such as paramedics and GPs, to make sure patients are admitted to the right pathway at the right time as soon as possible.

“This independent evaluation demonstrates how virtual wards have an important part to play in the future of providing safe, effective care outside of the traditional hospital setting.’’

Dr Syed Hasan, NHS England South East Virtual Wards and Virtual Care Lead, said: “Feedback from patients, carers and clinicians across the south East tells us that people prefer this delivery of care for their relatives. I am delighted that this unique evaluation has shown that virtual wards work in the south East, and that their expansion is good for patients and good for the NHS.”

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