What is VRI? Let us explain...

Our VRI creates a virtual hospital, without walls, where a patient’s treatment and care can begin and end in their own home with support from our fantastic people every step of the way.

A virtual hospital and virtual services are methods that we use to give hospital standard care to patients closer to, and often in, their own home. Not only can we deliver clinical care safely but patients are often spared the need to travel to, or stay in, hospital.

We already have a number of virtual services. The development and use of virtual and digital alternatives to more traditional methods of caring for patients increased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were so successful that we intend to expand their use and have created a programme of work to do this, which we call our Virtual Royal Infirmary (or VRI).

Read our virtual services strategy – The Virtual Royal Infirmary: high Quality Care, Anywhere. An easy read version is also available.

Virtual Royal Infirmary

Some examples of virtual care

The benefits of virtual services

We know that there are many benefits to delivering services virtually.

  • Virtual services give patients more control of their health, providing access to information, guidance and help with their condition.
  • Being cared for in their own home, or usual place of residence, not only cuts down on the need for patients and their families to travel to, and stay overnight in, hospital.  It also aids recovery as patients receive high quality, safe, care in familiar surroundings, sleep better and remain more active.
  • We can use virtual services to provide GPs and others working in communities with tools to seek advice from specialist clinicians at the Trust about appropriate treatment plans without the need to refer the patient to hospital.
  • By keeping people out of hospital unless they really need to be admitted, virtual services free up hospital capacity for the very sickest patients or allow those people requiring surgery or other procedures that cannot be done at home to have them carried out sooner.

Our ambitions

Our Virtual Royal Infirmary programme has five main VRI ambitions to:

Our workstreams

We will achieve these ambitions through five workstreams:

  • expand the virtual ward
  • make virtual outpatient appointments the norm wherever it is clinically appropriate
  • deliver online patient education modules
  • improve patient readiness for treatment
  • enable patients to manage their long-term conditions

What do some of our expert colleagues say?

Expansion of the virtual ward

Led by Mr James Halstead, Consultant Surgeon

James Halstead

“We’re aiming to create one Trust-wide virtual ward with single governance, information requirements, principles and oversight. We’d like to use or Elderly Virtual Ward as a template to ensure that every major specialty is able to offer access to the virtual ward for every clinically suitable patient.”

The Development of Virtual Outpatients

Led by Prof Rachel Pilling, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Rachel Pilling

“Our aim is to ensure that we make non face-to-face, telephone or video outpatient appointments the norm, with a particular focus on follow up appointments.”

The creation of online Patient Education Modules

Led by Dr Paul Sainsbury, Consultant Cardiologist

Paul Sainsbury

“We want to create and deliver material online so that patients can access support, education and self-management resources that are bespoke to their condition, reducing the need for hospital attendance.”

Find out more about our development of virtual services