World-first Irish early warning system for patients introduced

A new early warning system that triggers signs of worsening conditions in patients was in place at Galway University Hospital when Savita Halappanavar was admitted last October.

But the system does not yet cover maternity hospitals or such divisions in hospitals because a different set of standards is needed.

Ireland has now become the first country in the world to introduce such an early warning system on a national basis.

The system will apply in every hospital in the country.

It will see patients monitored on a continuous basis, with clear guidelines on the actions to be taken if their condition deteriorates.

Minister James Reilly says the guidelines are a recognised method of improving health care.

"Similar types of scoring systems have been put in place in other parts of the world and they have been shown to improve outcomes" he said.

"But what has been lacking in other areas - and what is a first for this country, and the world - is that this is now nationally mandated uniformly across the system so that everybody can understand and benefit from it" he added.