Virtual Wards and Urgent Community Response Core Capabilities Framework launched


By Skills for Health | 5 October 2022

A new Virtual Wards (VW) and Urgent Community Response (UCR) Capabilities Framework has been launched – the first multi-professional framework of its kind – to support the expansion of both virtual ward and urgent in-home service delivery models across England.

The new framework, developed by Skills for Health and commissioned by NHS England, provides a scope of practice for multi-disciplinary teams working within virtual wards and urgent community response teams.

Virtual wards, including frailty and acute respiratory infection (ARI) virtual wards, support patients who would otherwise be in hospital to receive the acute care, monitoring and treatment they need in their own home or place of residence.

Urgent Community Response provides assessment, treatment and support to people over the age 18 in their own home or usual place of residence, who are experiencing a health or social care crisis and are at risk of hospital admission within 2 to 24 hours.

At a local level, virtual wards and UCR teams are working to support the needs of patients in the place they call home. In response to this new way of working, we recognise that a framework for skills and capabilities is required to inform the upskilling and development of our workforce.

Rosemarie Simpson is a Senior Consultant at Skills for Health, the workforce experts commissioned by NHS England to develop the framework. She comments:

“Equipping the workforce with unified knowledge and skills of care delivery in the community is vital to the successful expansion of patient care in the comfort of their own homes,”

“The pandemic accelerated the transition to technology-enabled community care and urgent assessment of patients in their homes, and these dynamic and innovative changes to service delivery have yielded significant operational benefits where implemented.”

“A robust national framework that enables healthcare workers to better engage families and carers and manage ongoing clinical risk outside of the hospital setting for example, therefore provides a solid platform to be able to scale these innovations.”

Stephanie Somerville, Director of Community Transformation at NHS England, and Shabana Janjua, Director of Community Care at NHS England add:

“This framework is key to informing workforce education, training and career progression as well as informing local workforce models. The framework provides a standard and greater clarity on the scope of practice for nurses, allied health professionals and support workers in multi-disciplinary teams working within virtual wards and urgent community response teams in the community.”

To find out more and view the newly published Virtual Wards and Urgent Community Response Capabilities Framework, click here.

We are the leading authority in framework development, commissioned by national health bodies and government, guiding national occupational standards, competencies and capabilities frameworks, as well as making skills and training simple to navigate. Read here how our experts can work with you.


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