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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Bedside charts need to be standardised across the NHS

27th July 2012

Experts have warned that the way vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature are monitored in hospitals needs to be standardised across the NHS.


There are more than 100 different models currently in use leading to confusion and delays in care but now a group of senior doctors and nurses have said a national standardised system is essential and would save thousands of lives each year.

The National Early Warning Score has been drawn up by the royal colleges of physicians and nursing after reviewing many of the bedside chart models being used across the NHS.

The standardised system, which is based on a scoring system for six measures (respiratory rate, oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and level of consciousness) would also mean staff moving from one place to another in the NHS would not need to get used to new ways of working.

The royal colleges say avoidable deaths could be cut significantly and also want to see it applied outside hospital in GP practices and by ambulance crews.

Professor Bryan Williams, chair of the working party which drew up the new system, said: “It has the potential to transform patient safety in our hospitals and improve outcomes, it is hugely important.”

The Patients Association wants it introduced as a matter of urgency and chief executive Katherine Murphy added: “The public will be shocked to learn that the NHS has been operating such an ad hoc system.  It is therefore no surprise that the experience and outcome for so many patients is a negative one.”


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