The NHS has heralded a “new era” of healthcare that will see hundreds of thousands of patients avoid lengthy hospital stays and instead be treated in their own homes.
From September, 10,000 acutely ill patients will be cared for on “virtual wards”, using remote monitoring technology which automatically transmits data on their condition to teams of doctors and nurses several miles away.
Health chiefs believe the massive expansion of the scheme, which is already the largest in the world, is essential to free hospital capacity — preventing another winter A&E crisis and helping to bring down record waiting lists.
Every NHS region has set up virtual wards for frail over-65s, including dementia patients, as well as for respiratory conditions such as asthma or lung disease. From this month the scheme will be rolled out to cover under-18s, allowing terminally ill children to remain at home surrounded by family.
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Source: The Times, 28 July 2023