Deteriorating Patient Programme and National Early Warning System (NEWS)

Early Warning Systems

Early Warning Systems (EWS) are used in acute hospitals settings to support the recognition and response to a deteriorating patient. The EWS 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 System (NEWS) originated as a workstream for Acute Medicine Programme. In 2013, the then Minister for Health Dr James Reilly launched an important new patient safety initiative -  the first National Clinical Guideline- the National Early Warning Score for Ireland.

The National Clinical Guidelines are used to further improve the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare across Ireland. In 2020 this guideline was revised by the DPIP programme and renamed Irish National Warning System (INEWS V2).

The National Deteriorating Patient (Recognition & Response) Improvement Programme (DPIP) has been identified as a priority patient safety improvement programme by the National Patient Safety Office. 

The programme consists of three workstreams to effectively harmonise the EWSs and improve patient safety.

These are:

1. Guideline Development Project

2. Service Improvement Project

3. Education Project