NHS England has published the latest figures for the capacity and occupancy of virtual wards across integrated care boards.
Noting that the statistics are “classified as experimental”, NHSE shares data on capacity, occupancy percentage and capacity per 100,000 of the adult population. The ambition, as set out in the plan for recovering urgent and emergency services and winter resilience plan, is for ICBs to have 40-50 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adults and to maintain an 80 percent occupancy rate over winter.
According to September’s data, three ICBs had a capacity between 30 and 39.9 per 100,000 adults, with Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICB, Hertfordshire and West Essex and Frimley all registering at this level. For October, Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly, Northamptonshire, Black Country, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, have risen to join them with a virtual ward capacity of 32.7 per 100,000 adults or above.
12 ICBs had a virtual ward capacity between 20 and 29.9 in September, whereas 10 ICBs fall within this range in October. The majority of ICBs sit in the 10 – 19.9 range; in September, this figure was 22, and in October, it is 24. However, whilst September saw two ICBs with a capacity between zero and 9.9, in October this has reduced to just one.
Overall, England has an average of 20.9 virtual ward beds per 100,000 GP registered population above 16. It’s worth noting, as we did last month, that the statistics do not take into account factors such as patient demographics or socio-economic elements.
In terms of occupancy rate, England sees an average of 68.1 percent. In September, 14 ICBs had an occupancy rate high enough to meet NHSE’s 80 percent ambition for over winter, with this figure unchanged for October.
The latest stats can be found here.
We recently covered the news that University Hospitals of Leicester has partnered with Independent Provider Pioneer Wound Healing and Lymphedema Centres to utilise virtual wards to prevent and treat pressure ulcers, to support hospital teams in uploading images for assessment by Pioneer Health Consultants who can remotely access them and create a personalised prevention and treatment plan.
In other news from NHSE, yesterday we reported on the publication of a £307 million tender for the New Hospital Programme; and we shared the announcement of the Federated Data Platform contract.