Neighbourhood and Wellbeing Delivery Alliance Progress Report 2022-23

Strategic Priority 2: Urgent and Emergency Care

Our priority outcome: helping people to get hospital care within their own homes and communities

Photo of a nurse cuddling a patient in her care who is sitting in front of her

Context and key challenges 

It’s estimated that up to 20% of emergency admissions are avoidable with the right care in place. The NHS therefore set a national ambition to develop 40 to 50 virtual ward ‘beds’ per 100,000 people by December 2023. So, in April 2023, we set out to develop and extend our virtual ward capacity. 

Our virtual ward, Lambeth’s ‘@home service’, is intended to improve patient experience and recovery time, as evidence shows that people recover better when staying in a familiar environment. It also helps to address inequalities and patients can also have routine checks ups at home, reducing the risk of missed appointments.

A suitably qualified clinician such as a nurse, doctor, therapist or care worker, will visit a person’s home to assess and give the care needed to get better. This care can then be monitored using remote technology which will communicate information to the clinician about their health and progress. 

Our offer

Our aim was to have 240 to 300 virtual beds available across Lambeth and Southwark by December 2023, with 80% of these beds in use by patients.  In order to do this we have brought together partners across primary and secondary care to make sure that care is coordinated.  

virtual ward beds
virtual ward beds in use

Our next steps

Expanding our current services

In order to expand this work, we will:

  • Look at how we can support people with sickle cell, people who need blood glucose monitoring and those receiving treatment for cancer in the community, so that they avoid being admitted to hospital  
  • Look at our data to understand who else is at risk of hospital admission, and where there are gaps in care provision to see how they can be supported by technology in a virtual ward bed 
  • Work more closely with different health and care services across Lambeth and Southwark to see where more improvements can be made to remote care