In plain sight: the untapped potential of district nurses

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Next year, I will have completed four decades in health care. One of the enduring things you learn with longevity in health care is that the NHS consistently ‘re-invents the wheel’. Introducing shiny new solutions which some of us know are not new and in some cases not that shiny. The latest of these are virtual wards in England, apparently first ‘pioneered’ in March 2020 to prevent emergency admission and to assist with early discharge from hospital. NHS England (2021) describes how ‘virtual wards will allow patients to get the care they need at home, safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital’. They describe how this innovation was set up with remote monitoring for Covid-19 and is now extended to other respiratory infections and for older people with frailty. Of course, virtual wards are just re-badged intermediate care services previously called hospital at home and rapid response. They are not new, and they were not pioneered in Watford in 2020 — in fact, they have existed since the 1990s (Leff et al, 2005).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-25
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Community Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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