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New technology helps boost bed space in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire hospitals this winter

A new technology will monitor patients with respiratory infections or long-term lung conditions from home rather than the hospital.

Hospitals across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have introduced a new state-of-the-art technology that will help free bed space during the winter.

Patients who are eligible will be referred to a ‘virtual ward’- which means the patient can safely be treated and monitored from home.

Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. (53941020)
Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. (53941020)

Justin Wyatt, virtual ward lead for Sherwood Forest Hospitals said: “After much hard work, preparation, and working together with our health and care partners, we are really excited to be launching the virtual ward service for patients with respiratory infections or a flare up of a long-term respiratory infection.

“The decision to launch a respiratory service is based on our learning from covid-19 virtual wards and will help to support services during the expected rise in respiratory infections over winter.

“As the service develops it is expected that other virtual wards will come in to service, offering a wide range of virtual ward services to our patients.”

Patients in virtual wards will be monitored and supported on a daily basis using technology platforms and medical devices such as oximeters.

Patients can also receive face-to-face care from teams based in the community.

Helen Woodiwiss, director of clinical operations, digital and estates at Nottingham CityCare said: “The launch of respiratory virtual wards in Nottingham is an important milestone in keeping patients well in the place they call home.

“This is a very positive example of how we’re working collaboratively in Nottingham’s healthcare system to provide true integrated care for our patients.”

Dr Keith Girling, medical director at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: “We anticipate pressures on our hospitals over winter to heighten demand through our emergency department and also on our bed occupancy.

“Virtual wards offer us an opportunity to reduce delays to timely patient care by allowing us to release suitable patients to their own home for ongoing care and monitoring.

“We know patients recover more quickly in their own environment and we are really excited about the chance to support patients returning home whilst remaining under our care.”

Becky Sutton, Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s executive director of community health services, said: “Initially available to patients in the Mid Nottinghamshire area, the virtual ward will support patients with respiratory conditions to be discharged from hospital and continue to receive the same quality of care in the place they call home.

“Alongside the introduction of the respiratory virtual ward, we’re working with our partners to provide virtual wards for frailty, so this is a really exciting time and gives us a real opportunity to work together and deliver improved care for our patients in an environment which will benefit their health and wellbeing.”

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