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.

Falls

The Safety Thermometer asks you to record the severity of any fall that the patient has experienced within the previous 72 hours in a care setting (including home if the patient is on a district nursing caseload). A fall is defined as an unplanned or unintentional descent to the floor, with or without injury, regardless of cause (slip, trip, fall from a bed or chair, whether assisted or unassisted). Patients ‘found on the floor’ should be assumed as having fallen, unless confirmed as an intentional act.

 

In the ‘Fall’ column, record the severity of the fall using the drop down menu provided. If the patient did not experience a fall, choose the ‘No Fall’ option from the drop down menu. The severity of the fall is defined in accordance with NRLS categories:

  • No Harm
    • Fall occurred but with no harm to the patient
  • Low Harm
    • Patient required first aid, minor treatment, extra observation or medication.
  • Moderate Harm
    • Likely to require outpatient treatment, admission to hospital, surgery or a longer stay in hospital
  • Severe Harm
    • Permanent harm, such as brain damage or disability, was likely to result
  • Death
    • Where death was the direct result of the fall

 

This data enables the calculation of the following indicators:

  • F1:
    • The proportion of patients with evidence of a fall in a care setting in the last 72 hours, from discussion with the patient and review of clinical notes reviewed on the day of survey.
  • F2:
    • The proportion of patients with evidence of harm from a fall in a care setting in the last 72 hours, from discussion with the patient and review of clinical notes reviewed on the day of survey. Each of these measures can be viewed by harm severity.