Paediatric PEWS system

Development of a Paediatric Early Warning Scoring System

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is working in partnership with NHS England and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to establish a single National Paediatric Early Warning Score and system, (PEWS) for England.

While many acute hospitals have developed their own programmes to improve the recognition and response to deterioration, this has created inconsistencies across regions and the country. This is unlike other countries, including the devolved nations of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where single PEWS systems for children are in place. The RCN has been calling for a single system across England for over a decade.

In June 2018, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the RCPCH and the RCN came together to establish a joint National PEWS programme board for England.

The RCN is a member of the Programme Board and many RCN members have been involved in working groups and the clinical advisory group.

The ambition is to develop a consistent approach and common language to promptly recognise and respond to the acutely ill or deteriorating infant, child or young person. There has been great success in the roll-out of National Early Warning Scores (NEWS2) for adults. We are keen to mirror this for children and young people, but recognise they are a very different population group with very different needs.

The activity includes:

  • a clear vision and direction of travel to implementation
  • development of a Key PEWS Principles document 
  • clinical development of the content of a national PEWS chart   
  • development of the design and human factors of a national PEWS chart
  • pilot, evaluation and roll-out of a national PEWS chart and system 
  • education and training support
  • development timeline (may alter as work progresses)
  • development of the programme scope and key principles from August 2018-October 2019
  • clinical development, including design and human factors, of the PEWS chart content from September 2019- Autumn 2020
  • piloting and evaluation of a PEWS chart from April 2020 to December 2020
  • ambitions for a national roll-out from April 2021 onwards. 

Professor Dave Clarke Podcast - The Paediatric Early Warning Score 

Below you can listen to a short podcast from Professor Dave Clarke, chair of the Children and Young People's Acute Care Forum, talking about the Paediatric Early Warning Score.


Page last updated - 05/05/2020