We are currently developing a maternal early warning system (MEWS) to help clinicians identify when a pregnant woman’s condition starts to get worse, so they can respond quickly.
At a sector-wide workshop in December 2017, we agreed the system would consist of a standardised maternity vital signs chart and an escalation pathway that can be adapted for local needs.
The chart is based on the existing national vital signs chart, which the Commission is introducing to hospitals as part of its patient deterioration programme. It uses eight vital sign parameters to calculate a maternal early warning score. When the score is reached, it triggers a response based on the local escalation pathway, so the appropriate actions can be taken to manage the woman’s condition.
Testing of the new system began in April 2018 at Auckland, Nelson Marlborough and Northland DHB sites. The test sites are supported by the Commission’s national programme team, which is clinician-led and includes two midwives, an obstetrician/gynaecologist and an anaesthetist. The programme team supports the test sites through regular teleconferences and site visits, and by providing guidance and tools. The test phase will finish at the end of November 2018.
Initial feedback from users at Auckland and Nelson Marlborough DHBs suggests that the chart is easy to follow, allows users to easily identify trends, and that the layout is useful as the vital signs scoring information is included on the fold-out page for easy reference.
Following an evaluation by the programme team, the MMWG will consider next steps for implementing the system more widely. For more information on the maternity early warning system, please contact the programme team by email at email@example.com.