MORE than 400 patients have passed through the county's "virtual" hospital wards since they were set up at the end of last year.

A first assessment of the effectiveness of the wards shows most patients happy with the hospital treatment they get at home.

Virtual wards are on a one year trial within the Hereford city health area to measure their impact on hospital admissions and patient recovery.

The initiative is a partnership between Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has provided £1.5 million funding, and Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT).

CCG chair & clinical lead Dr Andy Watts said evidence so far suggested scope to expand virtual wards across the county.

Rupert Ransford, Consultant Gastroenterologist at WVT Trust, said the virtual wards initiative already showed a slow down in hospital admissions and seen more than 180 patients discharged earlier than could previously have been expected.