An early warning system adopted by hospitals in Scotland that monitors a patient’s vital statistics is helping them reduce the number of medical emergencies in hospitals and allow intensive care staff to focus on critically ill patients.

The number of emergencies have almost halved in Queen Margaret Hospital and Victoria Hospital since the early warning scheme was implemented in April 2008, the government said.

The system monitors a patient’s vital signs and gives an overall score. A low score means a deteriorating condition and the patient is therefore monitored very closely.

In case the score falls below a certain level, the hospital’s rescue system intervenes to avoid the chance of a cardiac arrest, the point at which a “crash call” would be made, the government said.