The Bishop of Leeds asked for clarification on the use of virtual beds at NHS Nightingale hospitals for patients with COVID-19 on 6th January 2022, following a government statement on recent developments in the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: I am intrigued by the statement about Nightingale hospitals. What is meant by a virtual bed and how does that increase actual capacity, especially in the light of the staffing pressures in the NHS already? If these Nightingale hospitals are to be populated and used, how will they be staffed?
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con): The virtual wards are different from the Nightingale surge hubs. The hubs will create up to 4,000 beds if needed, and will be facilities that take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover. The virtual wards involve people who are able to return home to have treatment through virtual interaction with medical professionals. They are different things done in different ways for different patients in different situations so that they can be properly treated in an appropriate manner.
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