Safer Care

Paediatric history

Trigger Tool Portal

One way in which we help organisations and individuals identify harm is through the use of a measurement tool known as the Trigger Tool Portal. This tool was originally developed by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in the USA, and has now been modified for use in hospital settings in the UK. In England it is used extensively to provide trusts with a good understanding of their rate of harm and enable them to measure the impact of system and process improvements tested to eliminate harm to patients.

The tool can be applied to the majority of patients seen within acute Trusts, but specifically excludes paediatrics, maternity and emergency care. In Canada, Professor Anne Matlow and her team have developed and validated a Paediatric Trigger Tool, and in the USA Trigger Tool Portals have been developed specifically for use in neonatal units.


Building on this body of national and international work, the Safer Care team has led the development of measure of harm for paediatrics in the UK. It has been refined and tested over the past 9 months by doctors, nurses and pharmacists in 7 trusts throughout England. They have now been joined by colleagues from two hospitals in Scotland. Our co-production partners reflect the spectrum from specialist tertiary children’s services through to district general hospital services and include:

EnglandAlder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Great Ormond Hospital for Children NHS Trust
Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
Sheffield Children’s Hospital
The Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust
University Hospital Bristol
ScotlandNHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh
Getting involved

After three cycles of testing, the Paediatric Trigger Tool is now being made available to a wider audience throughout the NHS. By using the tool and pooling your results we will be able to create and evidence base to guide future refinement of the tool. The Trigger Tool Portal has been designed to collate your Trigger Tool results and to represent the results in formats suitable for sharing with your clinicians or Trust Boards. The portal includes a facility to share data with others in your chosen network, but this is an opt-in function. Only the summary information will be used by the NHS institute to provide statistical validation of the tool.

Please email to register to use the new tool and trigger tool portal.