Early warning scores: a health warning

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Early warning scores are frequently used in UK adult emergency departments (EDs) and are gaining traction in paediatric emergency care. Like many innovations with inherent face validity, they have great appeal to clinicians, managers and commissioners. However, it is important to ensure unintended consequences and balancing measures are mitigated. We review the background to their development and introduction in the ED, the evidence for their usefulness, their limitations in our field and areas for further research.

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