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Saturday, August 11, 2012

New patient chart to save 6,000 lives a year in the UK

The purpose of NEWS - National Early Warning Score is to standardise the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS and in doing so: save lives.

For me in the late 70s early 80s there was great emphasis placed on doing the charts, on 'obs' and the art and skill of observation. As a student nurse, you were finally nursing. From my mental health base, I've noticed new students today retain this enthusiasm to do the TPR and BP. To sign-off this essential competency. I mentioned art and skill above to highlight the intuitive side, not to diminish the underlying knowledge. Recognition is essential to prompt action, critical in acute-illness.

I notice some comments in response to NEWS express concern about finding agreements on units and how standards might stifle innovation. Against this though, Nursing Times reported an acute problem with the quality of nursing observation skills in 2009.

It goes without saying that the elements in NEWS are physical: respiratory rate, blood oxygen level, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and level of consciousness. It will be fascinating to follow the results and not just in England.

In terms of integrated and holistic care - other measures will be needed.

My source: The Independent (27 July 2012).
Laurence, J. (2012, July 27). New patient chart to save 6,000 lives a year in the UK, The Independent. p.12

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