RCN works with doctors to improve patient safety
Published: 27 July 2012
The Royal College of Nursing has joined forces with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) to launch a new universal patient safety system.
The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) consists of a standardised bedside chart and uses universally recognised terminology to make it easier for clinical staff to recognise and respond to a patient whose condition is deteriorating. The system can be used in both acute and community care settings.
The RCN led on the development of a key part of the work, an e-learning portal, for use by all staff groups, from health care assistants to hospital consultants.
Janet Davies, RCN Director of Nursing and Service Delivery, said: “This is an example of the professions working together with a common purpose to provide solutions which improve patient safety. I would urge all health care organisations to adopt this system and ensure their staff have an opportunity to undertake the e-learning module that goes with it.”
At a press conference to launch the NEWS system, David Quayle, RCN Critical Care and In-Flight Nursing Forum Chair, said: “This was a clinically led initiative. It was about working together to create a system which will benefit our patients.”
Professor Bryan Williams of University College London, and Chair of the NEWS working party, said that NEWS could reduce the number of preventable deaths in hospital by up to 50 per cent. “This is not an incremental change, this is a transformative change in the way we manage patients.”
The benefits of a single national early warning scoring system include:
- giving a simple, standardised set of parameters to be scored when a patient’s vital signs are initially assessed, and which remain consistent if a patient is moved between wards, departments and even hospitals
- standardising the training of different staff groups so that there is a common language, expectation and understanding of deteriorating patients, whether you are a nurse or doctor and regardless of how long you have worked in the same place
- hospitals and other health care settings will be able to hold standardised data, so that regional variations in illness and clinical outcomes can be analysed. This could help identify patient safety issues.
Watch the RCN film on NEWS.