Our Virtual Hospitals are available to support patients' needs

Virtual hospitals operate similar to a physical hospital; it has an Emergency Department (Urgent Community Response Teams (UCRT), and wards (the Frailty Virtual Ward and Respiratory Virtual Ward), into which a patient can be transferred. It is a model of care for people aged 18+ presenting with urgent and complex health and care needs to be supported, monitored and treated in their own homes. 

Virtual wards allow safe and optimal care to be provided closer to home, allowing a patient to remain in familiar surroundings, improving their experience of care. Through avoiding admissions to a physical hospital, it not only alleviates the system bed pressures but reduces the risk of infections at a time of high transfer rates.

How does virtual care work?

The Urgent Community Response Teams (UCRT), operates across mid and south Essex, with a single point of access (SPA) with a two hour response time. The service covers four areas:

  • Basildon and Brentwood
  • Mid Essex
  • Thurrock
  • Southend and Castle Point and Rochford

UCRT supports patients in their own homes (including nursing and residential care comes) to avoid admission to hospital or new 24 hour care needs. Access to our new virtual hospital is via UCRT with some patients being assessed and supported by the team for up to 48 hours and others being transferred into the virtual wards where clinically indicated, up to a period of 14 days.

You can find more information about UCRT via the link on the right-hand side of the page.

Our Wards

The virtual wards are multidisciplinary with medical oversight and leadership. The team includes Registered Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Rehabilitation Assistants and health and care support workers.

Respiratory Virtual Ward

The Respiratory Virtual Ward is for patients whose primary presenting condition is an exacerbation of an underlying respiratory disease which has previously been diagnosed. The Respiratory Team have three wards:

  • Mid Essex
  • South East Essex
  • South West Essex

The Respiratory Virtual Ward is contactable 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-3pm Saturday and Sunday via 07 867 797 821.

Frailty Virtual Ward

The Frailty Virtual Ward is for patients with frailty or complex comorbidities, who may have an urgent care need or exacerbation of underlying long term condition. The Frailty Team have three wards: 

  • Mid Frailty Virtual Ward: 0300 131 0111 (8am-11pm, 7 days a week)
  • South-East Frailty Virtual Ward: 0333 015 3481 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
  • South-West Frailty Virtual Ward: 0300 300 1944 (8am-8pm, 7 days a week)