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Sloman joins virtual wards company after NHSE exit

Published on: 4 Sep 2023

NHS England’s chief operating officer is joining a telehealth firm as a senior adviser.

Sir David Sloman stepped down as chief operating officer for the national commissioning board last week and has joined virtual ward firm Doccla, it has been announced. 

In a statement issued by the company, Sir David said: “I thank my NHS colleagues for their support and counsel over the years and my eternal gratitude is with the people that deliver care across the country every single day.

“As I look to my next professional chapter, joining Doccla and working alongside their NHS partners was a straightforward decision. Remote patient monitoring has remarkable upsides for patients and the health service and I am very excited to advance this vital matter as part of the Doccla team.”

Virtual wards use computer technology to allow patients to be monitored outside of a standard healthcare setting. NHSE pushed for them to be more widely adopted during the coronavirus peaks.

One of the company’s founders, Martin Ratz, told an HSJ  event last year the catalyst for starting the firm came from when he had a heart attack and was monitored intensively while in hospital, then not at all when he went home.

Commenting on Sir David’s appointment, Mr Ratz said: “For Doccla to continue to deliver care to patients at home across the UK and support our superb NHS partners, we must have the best possible people in our corner. We are delighted that Sir David has come aboard and his experience will be invaluable as we further our mission to reduce and prevent in-patient admissions and save the NHS time and money.”

When the omicron covid variant emerged in 2021, Sir David wrote to system leaders  asking them to expand covid virtual ward capacity by the end of that year. In a piece for the NHS Providers website, he cited virtual wards as one of the “new forms of care” developed since the start  of the pandemic.

Doccla’s most recent annual accounts, published in July and going up to the end of 2022, showed the company’s net assets growing to £14.3m from £2.1m the year before.

NHS spend data shows four NHS trusts in the east of England spending a total of £1.1m with the firm in the financial years 2020-21 to 2022-23. East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust’s records show a spend of £216,000 with the firm in April this year.