Sepsis recognition a priority for Trust

Thursday, 08 December, 2011

Sepsis claims 37,000 lives in the UK annually and the majority of cases arise in the community. Simple, timely interventions including antibiotics and intravenous fluids can halve the risk of dying, yet are delivered in fewer than one in seven cases in the UK at present.

Earlier this year the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) embarked on a worldfirst innovative method of simple identification and recognition of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. In collaboration with Dr Ron Daniels, Chair of the UK Sepsis Group, EEAST was the first ambulance service in the UK to focus specific education on sepsis recognition as a priority.

Sepsis, a potentially deadly condition, is better known as blood poisoning causing inflammation and infection. Severe sepsis is the systemic inflammatory response, plus infection, plus the presence of organ dysfunction. And now the Trust is seeking a commitment to ensuring all patients get access to the rapid care they need. This will require a co-ordinated national response including strategies to heighten awareness and investment in the development of seamless care pathways from home to hospital.

Establishing sepsis as a medical emergency and a clinical priority for the NHS is likely to save at least 10,000 extra lives per year, and yield annual savings to the NHS of more than £170m.

Matthew Broad is an ambulance service clinical general manager, and has been
working with the charity UK Sepsis Group for the past year to develop the sepsis recognition tool. He said: "In hospitals, sepsis pathways are being established
but early recognition of the condition has not been an obvious focus for ambulance services or hospitals.

"If the NHS places this high on the care agenda, we know that early sepsis treatment can be cost effective, and reduces hospital and critical care bed days for patients."

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