Applying a COVID Virtual Ward model, assessing patient outcomes and staff workload

Acute Med. 2021;20(4):266-275. doi: 10.52964/AMJA.0876.


A COVID virtual ward (CVW) is recommended by NHS England, but 'usual care' outcomes have not been reported. A retrospective study of all adults with COVID-19 attending Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham between 01/06/2020-31/01/2021, assessed against CVW criteria and followed for 28 days. Of 2301 COVID-19 patients, 571(25%) would have met CVW criteria. Of these, 325(57%) were discharged after review and 246(43%) admitted. Of admitted patients who met CVW criteria, 81% required hospital-supported therapies; 11% died. Of the 325 discharged, 13% re-presented, 9% with COVID-related symptoms, 2% required intensive care admission, and one died (0.3%). In this comparison, discharging patients without a CVW did not lead to more re-presentations, re-admissions, ITU escalations or deaths compared to published outcomes for hospitals with a CVW.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Workload*