NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking all ICSs to extend or introduce the virtual ward model. This is a safe and efficient alternative to NHS bedded care using technology and can support patients to receive care in their own home.

ICSs have been asked to deliver 40 to 50 virtual ‘beds’ per 100,000 population by December 2023 and each system is expected to implement virtual ward models for two pathways, acute respiratory infection and frailty. Virtual wards rely on both effective partnership across systems and services, including the independent sector and the use of technology to maximise the offer to patients, carers and staff.

The NHS has published guidance outlining a two-year funded transformation programme to support the development and standardisation across England.

Virtual wards will be an important test of ICSs as its success depends on creating an integrated care model using a new multi-agency approach.

Click here for the full guidance: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/B1382_supporting-information-for-integrated-care-system-leads_enablers-for-success_virtual-wards-including-hos.pdf

See below our one page summary of the report which highlights the key points: