COO of NHS England commends the team behind the nation's first virtual hospital

Published: 23rd September 2022


We had the pleasure of welcoming Sir David Sloman, Chief Operating Officer of NHS England, and Chief Executive for Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated Care Board, Dr Jane Halpin.

Clinical Lead Specialist for Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Jessica Peplow and Divisional Medical Director in Hertfordshire, Kevin Barrett, along with clinical specialists from West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust supported this visit to highlight the implementation of our virtual hospital model and the services it offered to patients.

The team explained how the new out of hospital care model revolutionised patient care and has helped prevent Watford General Hospital from becoming overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The innovative model meant that patients could be discharged more quickly from hospital or could avoid admission altogether. It uses remote monitoring equipment and is supported by a centralised clinical and administrative team enabling the multi-disciplinary team to closely monitor patients using modern technology and be treated from the comfort of their own homes, keeping them safe and well cared for. The expanded service provides care for individuals with cardiac and respiratory issues and is now regarded as a pioneering service by many medical health professionals.

Sir David Sloman, Chief Operating Officer of NHS England, said: “This virtual hospital model is a fantastic example of embracing innovation while providing safe and high-quality care for all. The lives of thousands of people have been improved, and it’s a remarkable achievement between health partners in west Hertfordshire.”

Dr Kevin Barrett, Divisional Medical Director for Hertfordshire said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for CLCH to demonstrate to a national leader that we can work incredibly effectively with other providers. The virtual hospital has helped reduce the length of stay for patients and we have also received excellent feedback from those who have used the service. All those involved agree that this is the future of healthcare, and that it fills a much-needed gap between hospital care and care currently provided in the community.”

Jessica Peplow, Clinical Lead Specialist Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehabilitation added: “It was a pleasure to meet Sir David Sloman. He was extremely impressed by the work we had accomplished in setting up the virtual hospital with our partners. He also expressed an interest in rolling out our model across the nation. The success of our virtual hospital was in largely due to the open lines of communication between all of the teams involved.”

The result of close partnership working between West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH) and Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH) is that an increasing number of people now receive expert clinical care from the comfort of their own homes. 

As part of the South and West Hertfordshire Health and Care Partnership, we are also proud to announce that CLCH was recently shortlisted in this year’s HSJ awards for this work. This is a fantastic achievement for our team as it recognises their extraordinary collaborative approach to enhancing patient outcomes and continuously driving for better service.

Watch this video to learn more about how our specialist community teams in Hertfordshire have provided integrated care using the virtual hospital model and you can also find out more about the virtual hospital and the success of the service outcomes on the Herts and West Essex ICS website.

Pictured on the right from left to right: Dr Kevin Barrett (Divisional Medical Director at CLCH), Dr Jane Halpin (CEO for Hertfordshire and West Essex integrated Care Board), Dr Mike Van der Watt (Chief Medical Officer at WHTH),
Sir David Sloman (Chief Operating Officer at NHS England), Dr Niall Keenan (WHTH Consultant Cardiologist) and Jessica Peplow (Heart Failure Clinical Lead at CLCH).


Integrating services as local partners is one of the four core priorities of the CLCH Trust Strategy 2020-25. 

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