Intended for healthcare professionals


Virtual wards: Staffing gaps threaten national plan, warn leaders

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 25 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1205
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

An initiative to provide care for patients in “virtual wards” such as their own homes rather than in NHS settings in England is at risk because of staff shortages, according to health leaders.

The government intends to expand virtual ward numbers and the conditions they monitor with a national ambition for the NHS to have 40 to 50 virtual ward beds per 100 000 population by December this year, scaling up capacity ahead of next winter to around 10 000 beds by this autumn.

But in an analysis the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS organisations, said that this “innovative” model was being “severely hampered” by a lack of clinical staff available to run it.1

Virtual wards are remote monitoring services that help patients manage their health at …

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