Virtual hospital programme ‘highly commended’ in national NHS Parliamentary Awards

Published: 5th July 2023

The groundbreaking virtual hospital programme led by West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (WHTH) and Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH) has been highly commended in the national 2023 NHS Parliamentary Awards.

WHTH and CLCH established the UK's first virtual hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a safe alternative to inpatient care for over 5,000 patients and saving countless bed days. Since then, the programme has evolved to offer heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute respiratory infection virtual wards.

Dr Kevin Barrett, divisional medical director for Hertfordshire at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“It is fantastic that this innovative partnership initiative has been highly commended for the Excellence in Healthcare Award at the national NHS Parliamentary Awards. The virtual hospital has helped reduce the length of hospital stay for thousands of patients, meaning they can get home to their families, friends and familiar surroundings more quickly or avoid hospital admission altogether. The virtual hospital truly demonstrates the benefits of local health and care organisations working together to improve outcomes for patients.”

Andrew Barlow, Respiratory Consultant at West Herts Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said:

"West Herts has remained a leader in virtual ward development. We have used this platform to shape national policy and enhance clinical and public confidence. Implementing new care pathways like this requires strong partnerships within our integrated care system, including CLCH, social care, and the voluntary sector. Our collaboration has brought us closer together for the wellbeing of our patients.”

The recognition of the virtual hospital programme in the NHS Parliamentary Awards reinforces both organisations’ commitment to transforming and improving patient outcomes.

Launched five years ago, the awards aim to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of staff and volunteers working in the health and care sector, with nominations submitted by MPs. Following a nomination by local MP Oliver Dowden, the virtual hospital programme was named East of England regional winner for the ‘Excellence in Healthcare’ category.

The national awards were held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London on 5 July – the day of the NHS’s 75th birthday.


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