Organisations should no longer collect ‘classic’ or ‘next generation (Medication, Mental Health, Maternity and C&YPS)’ Safety Thermometer data or submit it to the Safety Thermometer portal. Information on replacement metrics drawn from routinely collected data can be found on the Patient Safety Measurement Unit webpage.

The Safety Thermometer, launched in 2010, was one of the largest and longest-lasting data collection exercises in NHS history. It had a powerful impact in its early years. But more recent evaluations, research and feedback have shown that the data was incomplete, and it was no longer able to support improvement in the intended way. Because of this, new data sources were explored that could take the burden of data collection away from clinical staff and support new improvement initiatives. Ending the Safety Thermometer were publicly consulted on in 2019/20 as part of proposed changes to the NHS Standard Contract. The response supported ending the national collection of Safety Thermometer data from April 2020, and using alternative data sources to continue improving pressure ulcer prevention, falls prevention, VTE prevention and prevention of healthcare-associated infection.

All data collection for the ‘classic’ Safety Thermometer and the ‘next generation’ Safety Thermometers will therefore stop after March 2020. Plans for nationally-produced replacement data to support improvement drawn from routinely collected sources will be provided or signposted on the NHS England and NHS Improvement Patient Safety Measurement Unit webpage as soon as possible.

Classic

The Classic Safety Thermometer is a measurement tool for improvement that focuses on the four most commonly occurring harms in healthcare: pressure ulcers, falls, UTI (in patients with a catheter) and VTEs.

Data are collected through a point of care survey on a single day each month on 100% of patients. This enables wards, teams and organisations to: understand the burden of particular harms at their organisation, measure improvement over time and connect frontline teams to the issues of harm, enabling immediate improvements to patient care.

The tool was developed by a community of users who iteratively tested the tool to ensure it is quick and easy to use and gives useful information which can be used for local improvement. A full guidance document describing the development of the tool can be found above.