NHSE stats indicate three ICBs met virtual ward target for 2023

The January 2024 statistics on virtual ward capacity and occupancy are the latest to be released by NHS England, showing that three ICBs met the ambition to include 40-50 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adults by the end of 2023; those ICBs are Northamptonshire; Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes; and Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly.

Nearing the recommended figure, with 30-40 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adults, are Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin; Black Country; Frimley; Hertfordshire and West Essex; and Gloucester.

The majority of ICBs fall into the next two categories, with 18 registering capacity of 20-30 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adult patients, and 17 ICBs reporting 10-20 beds per the same population size.

Regarding occupancy rates, according to these statistics eight ICBs are reported to have a virtual ward with occupancy of 90 percent or above: Mid and South Essex, South West London, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, Birmingham and Solihull, Black Country, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Frimley and Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Across England in its entirety, the average virtual ward capacity per 100,000 GP-registered adults is said to be 22.6, which translates to 11,635 beds. The total number of patients within a virtual ward setting in January 2024 is reported to have been 8,169, with average occupancy of 70 percent.

It is worth noting that NHSE classifies these figures as “experimental”, explaining that they are new official statistics undergoing evaluation.

Click here to view the stats in full.

HTN recently shared updates on virtual ward programmes from Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

In other news around the topic, we shared how NHS England awarded a contract with a reported value of £98,237.70 to Health Innovation Network (previously AHSN), for a review of the London region’s virtual ward and remote monitoring programme, and covered an update from Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust on its virtual ward programme, detailing its approach and some of the benefits that have been noted.