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.

Medication

The Medication Safety Thermometer is a measurement tool for improvement that focuses on: medication reconciliation, allergy status, medication omission, and identifying harm from high risk medicines.

As a point of care survey the Medication Safety Thermometer follows a three step process in order to identify harm occurring from medication error.  Data are collected on one day each month and enable wards, teams and organisations to: understand the burden of medication error and harm, measure improvement over time and connect frontline teams to the issues of medication error and harm, enabling immediate improvements to patient care. Data can be used as a baseline to direct improvement efforts and to measure improvement over time.

Data are collected across the health economy in acute hospitals, community hospitals, intermediate care, care homes and district nursing services (only where nurses administer medicines).  The recommended sample is 100% of patients under your care a single day each month.

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.