More ‘virtual’ wards on way

PLANS are afoot to create more virtual-style medical wards across North Somerset to allow more people to be treated at home and reduce the numbers going to hospital.

The Times reported last year how an innovative new scheme was to be set up by NHS North Somerset as part of cost-cutting and infection-reducing measures.

This has seen a team set up in Clevedon between The Green Practice, Riverside Group and Sunnyside Surgery, providing GPs and other experts, such as specialist nurses, therapists, and social care professionals, who visit people in their own homes.

Since being created, more than 100 patients have been cared for by them after suffering respiratory and urinary tract infections, heart failure and falls, among other conditions.

One of the reasons behind the creation of the new facility, branded as a ward, is to prevent patients with straightforward health problems picking up infections and other troubles in hospital.

NHS North Somerset now hopes to have seven of the wards in place by the end of the year, including one that already operates in Weston, to make ‘significant improvements’ in the quality of health services across the district.

The plans include a ward for Portishead and one for Backwell and Nailsea.

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A project spokesman said: “The aim of the ward is to enable patients to stay in their own homes or usual place of residence when previously they may have ended up in hospital.”