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National Early Warning Score Effective for COVID-19 Patients

THE PORTSMOUTH Academic Consortium for Investigating COVID-19 (PACIFIC-19) team have shown that a universal assessment score, used to measure a patient’s severity of illness, can be applied to patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), without modification.

The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) was developed 14 years ago and has since been recommended by the UK National Health Service (NHS), the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The assessment involves taking vital sign readings, including pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and breathing rate, and converting them into a value between 0 and 20. A higher score is indicative of greater risk of adverse clinical outcomes.

Lead author of the study Dr Ina Kostakis, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK, summarised how the findings will affect clinicians: “We all know about the immense extra burdens that the COVID-19 outbreak has imposed on hospital staff, but we have shown that the tools and processes they already use to monitor deteriorating patients have stood up to the task.”

This is important, as developing different techniques would require investment, take time, and lead to increased demand on staff training.

Prof Anoop Chauhan, senior author of the study, Portsmouth Hospitals University Trust, Portsmouth, UK, also commented: “I’m immensely proud of the way the team came together rapidly at the start of the crisis and has now produced this important work. We look forward to producing even more insights that help us to look after our patients during this pandemic and beyond.”