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National Early Warning Score (NEWS)

This programme is a work stream of the Acute Medicine Programme and focuses on:

•        Categorization of patients’ SEVERITY of illness

•        EARLY detection of patient deterioration

•        Use of a structured COMMUNICATION tool (ISBAR)

•        Promote an early medical review, prompted by specific TRIGGER points

•        Use a definitive ESCALATION plan

The National Early Warning Score adopted the VitalPAC Early Warning Score (ViEWS) vital sign parameters with the kind permission of Professor Gary Smith (UK).  ViEWS has been validated for use on both medical and surgical adult patients in acute hospital services.

The COMPASS Education programme is an interdisciplinary education programme designed to enhance our health care professionals’ understanding of patients who are clinically deteriorating and the significance of altered clinical observations.  It also seeks to improve communication between healthcare professionals, while adopting a patient-centred quality driven approach, and enhancing the timely management of patients. The programme incorporates education on the use of the National Early Warning Score. The COMPASS e-learning programme was completed by in excess of 1000 doctors and 1200 nurses in the first three months since it was launched. Other grades of staff such as health and social care professionals and healthcare managers have also completed the programme.

The 1st National Clinical Guideline – The National Early Warning Score was quality assured by the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee and endorsed by the Minister for Health in February 2013 and has been implemented in all acute and single specialty hospitals nationally. In 2015, a recommendation was issued by the Acute Hospitals Division that once a decision was made to admit a patient in the ED and any other area they must be commenced on the National Early Warning Score Chart.

National audits are supported by the programme. Following identified service need support for HCA education has been provided via WEBINAR. Assistance has been provided for the Irish Maternity Early Warning System (IMEWS) and Paediatric Early Warning Score (PEWS), which was quality assured by the NCEC and endorsed by the Minister for Health in November.

Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division