The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) is used by GPs, all ambulance services and most acute hospital trusts to check patients who may be at increasing risk of deterioration or developing sepsis.

You can read an overview of spotting serious illness and sepsis.

How NEWS works

NEWS has been created by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and is endorsed by NHS England and Improvement. It is a simple scoring system based on six common physiological measurements:

  1. Respiration rate
  2. Oxygen saturation
  3. Systolic blood pressure
  4. Pulse rate
  5. Level of consciousness or new confusion
  6. Temperature
Royal College of Physicians (RCP) scoring chart

If you are not able to take the measurements required to complete a NEWS score, you can still watch out for early ‘soft signs’ to help you recognise physical deterioration and take the appropriate actions. Find out about some of the ‘soft signs’ tools available here.

Resources for using NEWS in practice

These short training films have been produced by Wessex Academic Health Science Network, West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSNs) and West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), funded by Health Education England (HEE). They are part of a series of free videos and e-learning materials .

The RCP has issued updated guidance on the use of NEWS during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also published additional guidance on ‘incomplete NEWS’: what to do if it isn’t possible to take all of the measurements required. A patient may trigger on a single measure or an aggregate score, even if incomplete.

OCB media is kindly offering all NHS staff caring for patients with COVID-19 use of its NEWS2 e-learning package free of charge.

Help with implementing NEWS

England’s 15 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) are commissioned by NHS England and Improvement to increase the uptake of NEWS as part of the National Patient Safety Improvement Programmes Managing Deterioration work. PSCs are hosted by Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) and you can find your local AHSN.

Follow this link for more information on patient safety during COVID-19.

Acknowledgements

Information about NEWS on this page has been reproduced from: Royal College of Physicians. National Early Warning Score (NEWS) 2: Standardising the assessment of acute-illness severity in the NHS. Updated report of a working party. London: RCP, 2017.

The films on this page are part of a Health Education England e-learning package. To obtain a certificate of learning, it is recommended that you access the films as part of the full training on their e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) hub.

  • Collaborating to improve access and equity of care for sickle cell sufferers

    Harriet Smith is the Health Innovation Network's MTFM National Lead for Spectra Optia. In this blog, she outlines the collaborative efforts to improve the support available to people with sickle cell disease, and tackle long standing inequalities. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious and lifelong health condition. People with SCD produce unusually shaped red [...]

  • Until tackling health inequalities becomes business as usual, innovation is our best chance of equity

    Dr Stuart Monk, National Programme Director for the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) Programmes at the Health Innovation Network, talks about the pivotal role of innovation tackling healthcare inequalities in the NHS. At the Royal Society of Medicine’s Tackling Inequalities conference it was clear from the passion in the room that great progress has been made [...]

  • Where health innovation is concerned, 15 approaches are better than one

    Dr Phil Jennings, Vice Chair of the Health Innovation Network and Chief Executive of Health Innovation North West Coast, discusses why the Network’s collective relicensing gives innovation a better chance of success. In any one day in England, 1.2 million people attend a GP appointment, over a quarter of a million people have an outpatient [...]