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Scottish Government expands virtual wards programme


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Michael Matheson
Michael Matheson
Image source: Scottish Government, Open Government Licence v3.0

The Scottish Government has announced a new £3.6 million investment to support more than 150 virtual beds under the Hospital at Home programme.

It said this will take the total funding in the service to more than £10.7 million since 2020 and will increase the number of patients managed through the service by 50%.

Health Secretary Michael Matheson said: “Hospital at Home has already proved to be very successful and most importantly, beneficial to patients and the wider system.

“That’s why we have allocated a further £3.6 million so more people can be managed at home rather than in hospital.

“Patients have spoken very positively about the service and it also reduces pressure on A&E and the Scottish Ambulance Service by avoiding admissions and accelerating discharge. Hospital beds will always be available to people who need them, but this is a better alternative for many.”

Remote care expansion

The investment marks a further expansion around the UK of the use of remote health monitoring technology for patients to stay at home while under clinical surveillance. NHS England has said more than 100,000 patients per year are now being treated in virtual wards.

A recently published progress report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland showed a 68% increase in patients managed by Hospital at Home services – 7,369 patients managed between April and November 2022, compared with 4,374 in the same period of the previous year. 


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