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.

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)

When a blood clot breaks loose and travels in the blood, this is called a venous thromboembolism (VTE). The abbreviation DVT/PE refers to a VTE where a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has moved to the lungs (PE or pulmonary embolism).

In VTE risk assessment, there are three options for recording this information on the drop down menu: Yes / No / N/A. If the patient has a documented risk assessment for VTE then select, ‘Yes’ if not, select ‘No’. Alternatively, if the question is not appropriate for the patient or setting select ‘N/A’.

This data enables the calculation of the following indicator:

  • V1:
    • The proportion of patients with a documented VTE risk assessment.

 

VTE prophylaxis

The Safety Thermometer asks you to record whether or not an ‘at risk’ patient has started appropriate VTE prophylaxis. This information is required for all surveyed patients. There are three options for recording this information on the drop down menu: ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘N/A’.

If the patient has started appropriate VTE prophylaxis then select, ‘Yes’, if not, select ‘No’. If the question is not appropriate for the patient or setting, for example they are not ‘at risk’ or are contraindicated for prophylactic treatment then select ‘N/A’. This data enables the calculation of the

following indicator:

  • V2:
    • The proportion of ‘at risk’ patients receiving appropriate prophylaxis (in accordance with local guidance).

 

New VTE

The NHS Safety Thermometer asks you to record whether or not a patient is being clinically treated for VTE of any type. A patient may be defined as having a new VTE if they are being treated for a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) or any other recognised type of VTE with appropriate therapy such as anticoagulants. Old VTEs are not counted in this measure. To collect the data, you may wish to assess or ask the patient about any VTE symptoms or treatment as well as consulting their notes or handover documents. If treatment for a VTE was started after the patient was admitted to your organisation, select one of the ‘new’ categories from the drop down menu; this will be one of ‘new DVT’, ‘new PE’ or ‘new other’.

If treatment for the VTE started before the patient was admitted to your organisation, use the ‘old’ categories from the drop down menu; this will be one of ‘old DVT’, ‘old PE’ or ‘old other’. If the patient is not being treated for a VTE, select ‘No VTE’. This data enables the calculation of the following indicator:

  • V3:
    • The proportion of patients receiving anticoagulation treatment (heparin, warfarin or equivalent) for treatment of a NEW clinically documented VTE event. This measure can be viewed by category (DVT/PE/Other). The measure can also be viewed by OLD and NEW VTE.