Implementation of maternity early warning system underway

29 Aug 2019 | Patient Deterioration

The Health Quality & Safety Commission would like to congratulate Wairarapa, West Coast and Taranaki district health boards (DHBs) on implementing the national maternity early warning system (MEWS) hospital-wide in July and August.

Four women standing with a vital sign chart and a cake, smiling at the camera.

Staff from Wairarapa DHB celebrate the launch of MEWS with a cake from the Commission.

Waikato DHB also launched MEWS this week, with Canterbury and Bay of Plenty DHBs going live soon.

Over the last two years, we have developed MEWS to help clinicians identify when a pregnant or recently pregnant woman’s condition starts to get worse, so they can respond quickly. It includes a standardised maternity vital signs chart and an escalation pathway that can be adapted for local needs.

The maternity vital signs chart is based on the existing national adult vital signs chart, which the Commission has introduced 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.

Feedback from the DHBs who have recently launched as well as the test sites; Auckland, Nelson Marlborough and Northland who have already implemented MEWS, has been positive.

The DHB project teams have worked incredibly hard to roll out the new MEWS. Congratulations on your achievement!

More information about MEWS is available on our website:

Last updated 29/08/2019