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© 2020, The Authors. Background: The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) calculated from physiological observations provides a simple away to identify and respond to the deteriorating patient. There is increasing interest in the application of NEWS to facilitate referrals from the community. Aim: To establish whether elevated NEWS are associated with adverse outcomes at 5 and 30 days when obtained in a community setting at the time of transfer to an acute setting. Design & setting: A retrospective service evaluation was undertaken using a database of emergency admissions to secondary care from two NHS district general hospitals within the South of England between January 2018 and April 2019. Method: The performance of NEWS recorded in a community setting to predict death or critical care admission at 5 and 30 days was calculated using established thresholds. Results: 2786 referrals from primary care were analysed. The 5 day and 30 day mortality was 2.2% (1.7 to 2.8) and 7.1% (6.2 to 8.1). The prevalence of the composite outcome was 3.4% (2.8 to 4.2) at 5 days and 8.5% (7.5 to 9.6) at 30 days. The risk of adverse outcomes increased incrementally with increasing NEWS. When calculated at the point of referral from primary care the positive predictive value of death at 5 and 30 days was 15% (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 12 to 19) and 23% (95% CI = 17 to 30) in the high-risk NEWS group. Conclusion: Elevated NEWS obtained in the community during the process of emergency admission are associated with adverse outcomes. Communicating NEWS may allow downstream care to be better calibrated to risk.

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