The COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and we recommend that GPs ensure they are receiving updates from their local system.

GPs can also review the current NHS guidance for primary care.

The AHSN Network also holds useful resources and information on Patient Safety in Primary Care during COVID-19.

As well as this, we have produced a RESTORE2 Poster for GP Practices.

COVID Oximetry @home and COVID virtual wards

The West of England AHSN supported the roll-out of ‘COVID Oximetry @home’ and ‘COVID virtual wards’ in our region. Our local support offer made use of our existing expertise, infrastructure and resources.

Click here to find key information about ‘COVID Oximetry @home’ and ‘COVID virtual wards’, including relevant resources and webinars.


NEWS and the updated NEWS2 (National Early Warning Score) was developed by the Royal College of Physicians and is a structured set of observations based on a simple aggregate scoring system acting as ‘track and trigger’ and a common language across settings.

Read more about the Royal College of Physicians and NEWS 

Watch an example of a patient story from our region where NEWS has been used to assess and trigger responses across patient pathways and ultimately improved outcomes for this patient.

Evidence is accumulating, such as the Scott et al finding, that the higher the NEWS the more likely a patient is to be admitted, the longer the length of stay and the more likely they are to die.

Concern has also been expressed that many people in the community will have a high NEWS due to underlying conditions. This has not been found to be the case. Barker et al case reviewed 19,604 NEWS from 2,424 older adults in 46 care homes over 30 month period; the median NEWS was 2, 66% had a NEWS of 2 or less and 28% had NEWS of 0.

NEWS2 scores help identify sickest COVID-19 patients

Using National Early Warning Scores (NEWS2) can help identify those COVID-19 patients who are sickest and at risk of dying, a study published in Emergency Medicine Journal has shown. National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) funded-researchers looked at data from 1,263 COVID-19 patients admitted to four hospitals in the West of England between March and June 2020.

The hospital trusts involved in the project were Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North Bristol Trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust. This project was a collaboration with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

NEWS2 and COVID-19

NEWS2 is recommended by the Royal College of Physicians to risk assess patients with COVID-19 or possible COVID-19 in hospital.

The RCGP recommends that while recording physiological measures may be helpful in supporting decision-making it should be used alongside wider clinical assessment and not replace clinical judgement. Further research has been recommended by Prof Trish Greenhalgh and colleagues from the University of Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM).

The reasons for the caution are partly because it is not recommended that patients be seen for a face to face assessment solely for NEWS2 to be calculated. In addition, severe COVID-19 may present with unpredictable physiological change such as ‘silent hypoxia’ when someone does not appear unduly short of breath or cyanosed but may have reduced oxygen saturation.

RESTORE2, incorporates NEWS2, and was developed before COVID-19. However, the use of RESTORE2 provides a common language of communication with carers and enables the monitoring of physiological change and it is in this way that we recommend it is used. Watch our short RESTORE2 training video to find out how RESTORE2 benefits GPs. You can also find out more about this and our other training resources for care providers.

Further resources:

Care home resident and employee

Support, resources and training for care providers

We offer free training and resources for care providers - whether you’re in a nursing or residential home or providing domiciliary care.

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Primary Care

At Health Innovation West of England we are working on a wide range of initiatives to support primary care.

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