NHSE begins national roll-out of Paediatric Early Warning System

NHS England has announced the national roll-out of the Paediatric Early Warning System process following a three-year pilot across 15 sites, as the result of collaboration between NHSE, the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health, and the Royal College of Nursing.

With many hospitals using systems already for paediatric early warnings, the change aims to provide a single, national standardised process for patients to support clinicians in tracking possible deterioration in a child’s condition with the aim of allowing issues to be detected and escalated in a timely manner. Through the process, if a parent or carer highlights a concern that a child is deteriorating, the child’s care is immediately escalated regardless of other clinical observations, NHSE stated.

Alongside the roll-out of the process, a digital specification has been launched and is currently available as a beta specification, with NHS professionals encouraged to find out more through the FutureNHS website. The site also includes an e-learning module for staff to develop knowledge and understanding of Paediatric Early Warning System processes noted.

The Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health notes aims to finalise the digital specification by late 2023; until then, NHS trusts can still provide feedback to the National SPOT (System-wide Paediatric Observations Tracking) team on the beta specification via the FutureNHS platform.

As part of the roll-out, NHSE will be sharing video content for parents along with leaflets to promote the system.

Professor Simon Kenny, NHS national clinical director for children and young people, comments: “With different tools for tracking the condition of babies, children and teenagers, this system will enable NHS teams to use straightforward, standard scoring systems to track a child’s vital signs, with evidence from pilot sites demonstrating clear benefits for patients and staff alike.” He adds that the new process “will be invaluable for both NHS staff and patients, helping to create a ‘common language’ as part of the process in tracking any signs of deterioration and triggering escalation if needed.”

NHSE has published the PEWS observation and escalation charts, available to view here.

In May, HTN covered the news of the market engagement process for PEWS.

Last year, we were joined by a team from Leeds Teaching Hospitals for a discussion on their work recording physiological observations and identifying children at risk of clinical deterioration. Find out more here.