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Classic Thermometer Medication Thermometer Mental Health Thermometer Maternity Thermometer Youth Thermometer

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.

Pressure Ulcers

The NHS Safety Thermometer asks you to record the patient’s WORST old pressure ulcer and WORST new pressure ulcer. An ‘old’ pressure ulcer is defined as being a pressure ulcer that was present when the patient came under your care, or developed within 72 hours of admission to your organisation. A ‘new’ pressure ulcer is defined as being a pressure ulcer that developed 72 hours or more after the patient was admitted to your organisation.


In each of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ pressure ulcer columns, record the category of the WORST pressure ulcer the patient has, using the drop down menu provided. If the patient has no pressure ulcer, or a pressure ulcer that is deemed less severe than a category 2, chose the ‘None’ option from the drop down menu. The category is based on the European Pressure Ulcer Scale:

  • Category II – Partial Thickness Skin Loss Or Blister
    • Partial thickness loss of dermis presenting as a shallow open ulcer with a red pink wound bed, without slough. May also present as an intact or open/ruptured blister.
  • Category III – Full Thickness (Fat Visible)
    • Full thickness tissue loss. Subcutaneous fat may be visible but bone, tendon or muscle is not exposed. Some slough may be present. May include undermining and tunnelling.
  • Category IV – Full Thickness Loss (Bone Visible)
    • Full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle. Slough or Eschar may be present. Often includes undermining and tunnelling.


This data enables the calculation of the following indicators:

  • P1:
    • The proportion of patients with an OLD pressure ulcer (present on admission to your organisation or developed within 72 hours) documented following skin inspection on the day of survey.
  • P2:
    • The proportion of patients with a NEW pressure ulcer (NOT present on admission to your organisation or developed within 72 hours) documented following skin inspection on the day of survey.
  • P3:
    • The proportion of patients with ANY pressure ulcer (new or old) documented following skin inspection on the day of survey. Where a patient has an old pressure ulcer which has got worse in your care this would be considered a new pressure ulcer. Each of these measures can be viewed by category (II-IV).

Your Queries:

Staff can only record Grades 1 to 4 , but some are classified as Ungradeable (when the wound bed can’t be viewed and the assessor is unable to clarify what the Grade will be once the wound bed is able to be viewed); therefore staff are recording these as Grade 4 when they are not . We realise that Safety Therm is national – but wonder if there are some guidelines on how these should be recorded / or how other Trusts are doing this ?

​​​There isn’t a defined national approach. Most organisations pick a grade to use for the purposes of reporting and use tag and flag to highlight for local improvement purposes. That doesn’t help for national analysis (we strip out tag and flag) but can be communicated to local commissioner for CQUIN/assurance purposes.​

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Delivering ‘harm free’ care to each and every patient.

The ‘harm free’ care programme is ambitious yet simple. Stop dealing with safety issues in silos, think about complications from the patient’s perspective and aim for the absence of all harm to each and every patient.

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“Safety Thermometer provides a ‘temperature check’ on harm that can be used alongside other measures of harm to measure local and system progress in providing a care environment free of harm for our patients.”
Dr Sarah Sample
NHS example

Safety Thermometer User Feedback Survey

The NHS Safety Thermometer has been up and running for more than 8 years! In that time we have collectively surveyed more than 10 milliion patients and created the largest national safety database in the world!

We are always striving for improvement; your feedback is invaluable to us in ensuring we deliver the best possible service to our users. We would be grateful if you could provide some feedback on your use of the NHS Safety Thermometer.

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