Standardising the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS

An elearning tool is available to train and support healthcare professionals in the use of the NEWS charts and scoring system. To find out more and access the tool, click the ‘Full details’ heading below.

Full details

Report of a working party – July 2012

The presence of various early warning scoring systems in hospitals across the UK is leading to a lack of consistency in detecting if a patient’s condition deteriorates. This new report advocates standardising the use of a single National Early Warning Score (NEWS) across NHS in order to drive the ‘step change’ required in the assessment and response to acute illness.

The report, prepared by a working party convened by the Royal College of Physicians’ Acute Medicine Task Force, recommends that the NEWS should be used when patients present acutely to hospital and also in the prehospital assessment ie by primary care and the ambulance services. The NEWS could also be adopted as a surveillance system for all patients in hospitals for tracking their clinical condition, alerting the clinical team to any medical deterioration and triggering a timely clinical response.

  • Download the NEWS report below.

The NEWS observation chart

To facilitate standardisation and a national unified approach, a colour-coded NEWS observation chart has been developed after much research and evaluation against existing charts being used in hospitals, and its use is recommended across the NHS and beyond to record routine clinical data and track a patient’s clinical condition.

  • Download the NEWS observation chart (either A3 or A4 size with explanatory text) below.

The NEWS scoring system files

The scoring system charts have also been produced as stand-alone high-quality versions with explanatory text that can be downloaded and printed below. Please use these versions of the charts and not the lower-quality versions shown in the report. The charts must be reproduced in colour and should not be modified or amended.

The following scoring system files are available to download below:

  • The National Early Warning Score (A4 size with explanatory text)
  • The National Early Warning Score (A3 size)
  • The NEWS thresholds and triggers (with explanatory text)
  • Outline clinical response to NEWS triggers (A4 size with explanatory text)
  • Outline clinical response to NEWS triggers (A3 size)

The NEWS e-learning programme

An educational programme has been developed to train and support healthcare professionals in the use of the NEWS charts and scoring system.

The tool is funded by the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Nursing, National Outreach Forum and NHS Training for Innovation.

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