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NHS London’s plans for virtual wards create unnecessary risk

NHS London’s plan for dealing with the omicron wave needs to take a more multidisciplinary approach and be more evidence-based if it is to not build unwarranted variation into services, write Elaine Maxwell and Alison Leary in HSJ.

A key tenet of high reliability organisations is to expect the unexpected. The start of the global COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps a little too unexpected to have good plans in place, but nearly two years on there really is no excuse and the NHS London plan for the omicron wave leaves a lot to be desired. Standing down Covid Virtual Wards across the summer with limited capacity to restart them (and no clear evaluation) was, in hindsight, a mistake - but standing up a different model without careful forethought is perhaps a bigger mistake.

We have talked for at least a decade about unwarranted variation and we seem to be building it into services now, because we don’t spend the time considering the research evidence and consulting the whole multidisciplinary team in order to set meaningful standards. In safety science terms, this is a nightmare. We should and could do better.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 23 December 2021


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