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Clinical early warning scores (EWS) have been around in one form or another for many years; they are a ubiquitous component of modern healthcare. This journal has also published on the subject, even providing a commentary in 2011.1 ,2 Despite a widespread enthusiasm for EWS there is a consistent problem and that is an inconsistency in their use and design. The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London is now taking a lead role in trying to establish a national UK standard, using the acronym National Early Warning Score (NEWS).
As the RCP states in the introduction to its report on the subject, NEWS: Standardising the assessment of acute illness severity in the National Health Service (NHS),3 a national standard cannot change practice unless it is adopted by every hospital, and underpinned by education and training. The RCP is supporting such implementation by making the report and the associated charts free to use across the NHS. It hopes to see the score adopted as soon as possible right across the NHS.
The report says that the early detection, timeliness …