Could NEWS go international?

Hannah Little, Patient Safety Improvement Lead and Senior Project Manager, reflects on the spread of NEWS across the country, and beyond.

The National Early Warning Score (now NEWS2) saves lives. It provides a simple, objective overview of a person’s physiological condition by turning vital markers of deranged physiology into a score. The higher the score, the more likely it is that the person needs an urgent clinical review.

NEWS2 helps identify time-critical conditions, such as sepsis, early. It is a simple concept, initially developed to provide a common language of deterioration across acute settings. It is unsurprising that other areas of the health system have been keen to adopt this lifesaving tool, in order to provide clinicians working across an often discombobulated health system with a quick objective indicator of deterioration. NEWS2 can enable the easy track-and-trigger of deterioration and recovery across pathways, from the moment a person first presents as unwell to the moment they are discharged.

NEWS2 is in use across the health system in the West of England, which now has the lowest mortality from Suspicion of Sepsis in England, according to recent data from the Patient Safety Measurement Unit. England’s 14 other Patient Safety Collaboratives are now all working hard to spread NEWS2 beyond acute settings. In true quality improvement style, all are taking a slightly different approach – with workstream leads meeting often to learn from each other.

The reach of NEWS2 continues to grow. We have had enquiries from professionals and organisations looking to learn from the success of NEWS2 in Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Ghana and most recently, Canada. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have also had international enquiries; the benefits and opportunity for easily applying this lifesaving initiative in other health systems is clear. Who knows, one day we could have an International Early Warning Score.


Posted on September 12, 2019 by Hannah Little, Patient Safety Improvement Lead and Senior Project Manager, West of England AHSN

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