Standardised National System for Monitoring Vital Signs (BBC News / RCP / RCN / SIGN)

[A brief reference to this item appears in: Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 3 Issue 3, October 2012].


A joint group of doctors and nurses suggests that moving to a standardised national bedside chart scheme, called the National Early Warning Score, will save thousands of lives each year. It will help clinical staff to recognise patients whose condition is deteriorating, as it uses universally recognised terminology. This system has backing of NHS leaders and should be adopted across the UK within a year. The system can be used in acute and community care settings.

The Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Nursing reviewed the various bedside chart models used across the NHS, and drew up this recording and scoring system to cover six measures: respiratory rate, oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate and level of consciousness. The chart is colour coded to assist decisions about further assessments, transfers to critical care, etc.

Read more: BBC News: Call for national system for monitoring vital signs.


Triggle, N. (2012). Call for national system for monitoring vital signs. London: BBC Health News, July 27th 2012.

The Full National Early Warning Score (NEWS) Toolkit

Components include:

  1. NEWS observation chart (A4 size, with explanatory text).
  2. NEWS observation chart (A3 size).
  3. The National Early Warning score (A4 size, with explanatory text).
  4. The National Early Warning Score (A3 size).
  5. The NEWS thresholds and triggers (with explanatory text).
  6. Outline clinical response to NEWS triggers (A4 size, with explanatory text).
  7. Outline clinical response to NEWS triggers (A3 size).

Full Text Link


Royal College of Physicians (2012). National Early Warning Score (NEWS): Standardising the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS. Report of a working party. London: Royal College of Physicians (RCP), July 2012. ISBN 978-1-86016-471-2.

Note: There is also an E-learning Toolkit. explaining how to fill in the forms and operate the new National Early Warning Score System.

SIGN 139: Care of Deteriorating Patients (SIGN)

This Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guideline specifies consensus-based recommendations for the management of deteriorating adult patients in acute hospitals.

Full Text Link


SIGN 139: Care of deteriorating patients: consensus recommendations. Edinburgh: Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN), May 2014. (SIGN publication no.139). ISBN 978 1 909103 26 9.

About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Acute Hospitals, BBC News, For Doctors (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), In the News, National, NHS, Patient Care Pathway, Practical Advice, Proposed for Next Newsletter, Quick Insights, RCN, Royal College of Physicians, Standards, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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