Intended for healthcare professionals


Virtual wards: NICE sets out guidance on managing acute respiratory infections at home

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 04 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2030
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. Kent

More people with acute respiratory infections could be treated outside hospitals in respiratory hubs or virtual wards this winter, advises new guidance from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.1

NHS England has prioritised the expansion of virtual ward capacity as a way to relieve pressure on hospitals,2 but health leaders have warned that staffing gaps could put the initiative at risk.3

The draft guideline, open for consultation until 15 September, covers the diagnosis and management of suspected acute respiratory infections, including pneumonia, influenza, and respiratory viruses, but not covid-19. It follows recent NICE guidance recommending the use of virtual wards and digital technology to monitor patients aged over 16 with acute respiratory infections.4 Such …

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