Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly TD endorses and launches first National Clinical Guideline: National Early Warning Score

Today, Monday 18th February 2013 the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly launched an important new patient safety initiative - the first National Clinical Guideline - the National Early Warning Score for Ireland. National Clinical Guidelines will help to further improve the quality, safety and cost effectiveness of healthcare across Ireland.

This National Clinical Guideline - the National Early Warning Score clearly sets out how to recognise and respond to patients whose condition is deteriorating. This guideline has been designed for adults in acute hospitals and is based on international evidence of what is known to work best.

The Minister said “It is clear that recognising patients whose condition is deteriorating and responding to their needs in an appropriate and timely way are essential to safe care and the launch of this National Guideline is an important patient safety initiative

The guideline was developed through the collaborative work of frontline clinical staff, patient groups and key patient safety experts led by the Acute Medicine Programme of the HSE.

The Minister also commended the Acute Medicine Programme of the HSE in being to the forefront internationally in this patient safety initiative and on Ireland being the first known country to agree a National Early Warning Score.

Launching the National Early Warning Score as the first National Clinical Guideline for Ireland the Minister thanked the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee for its role in quality assuring and recommending to him the endorsement of this important guideline.

Dr James Reilly, the Minister for Health stated “that the implementation of the National Clinical Guideline: National Early Warning Score for Ireland is a priority for the Irish health system”.

ENDS

Note for Editors:

The National Clinical Effectiveness Committee

1. The National Clinical Effectiveness Committee (NCEC) was established as part of the Patient Safety First Initiative in September 2010. The NCECs mission is to provide a framework for national endorsement of clinical guidelines and audit to optimise patient and service user care. The NCEC has a remit to establish and implement processes for the prioritisation and quality assurance of clinical guidelines and clinical audit so as to recommend them to the Minister for Health to become part of a suite of National Clinical Guidelines and National Clinical Audit.
2. The NCEC, chaired by Professor Hilary Humphreys, is made up of key stakeholders including clinicians, patient representatives, the Department of Health, patient safety experts, health managers, regulatory bodies, training and education bodies, insurance and clinical indemnity agencies and private healthcare.
3.The NCEC through the processes of prioritisation and quality assurance of a clinical guideline reach consensus as to whether the clinical guideline has been developed using a quality methodology, is based on evidence and is important for the Irish Healthcare system.
4. Clinical guidelines that meet these criteria are then recommended to the Minister for Health through the CMO for endorsement.

National Clinical Guidelines

5. National Clinical Guidelines are “systematically developed statements, based on a thorough evaluation of the evidence, to assist practitioner and service users’ decisions about appropriate healthcare for specific clinical circumstances across the entire clinical system”. The implementation of clinical guidelines can improve health outcomes, reduce variation in practice and improve the quality of clinical decisions.
6. The aim of National Clinical Guidelines is to provide guidance and standards for improving the quality, safety and cost effectiveness of healthcare in Ireland. The implementation of these National Clinical Guidelines will support the provision of evidence based and consistent care across Irish healthcare services so that patients, regardless of where they are in the country or the service they attend, will experience the same high quality, safe, evidence based care.
7. The implementation of these National Clinical Guidelines also supports services in meeting HIQA’s National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare and anticipated future licensing requirements.

Information on the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee and the first National Clinical guideline is available at: www.patientsafetyfirst.ie