New NHS England Action Plan Published

The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that 10,000 lives every year could be saved through early diagnosis of sepsis and effective treatment.

NHS England has today published a new action plan which aims to provide support to healthcare professionals to recognise the signs and symptoms of sepsis in order to treat it promptly.  You can read the new action plan.

Sepsis is described as a 'silent killer' and is a reaction of the body's immune system to infection.  In severe cases this can lead to serious swelling, circulatory issues and organ failure.  Eventually, a sepsis sufferer may go into septic shock, where the blood pressure drops dramatically. Particularly, where there has been late diagnosis or none at all, the condition can result in amputation or death.

It is estimated that around 37,000 in the UK die from sepsis each year.  Although sepsis can be difficult to diagnose, prompt diagnosis and treatment is the key to achieving a better outcome.  In many cases, with vigilance and awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis can be avoided and are treatable in many cases.

A recent report issued by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) revealed that only a third of patients in the UK with sepsis were receiving good quality of care.

Professor Bruce Keogh, Medical Director for NHS England said:

'In many cases sepsis is avoidable, and if not, it is often treatable, so we need to ensure that healthcare professionals are supported and equipped to identify and treat sepsis early'.

The new report will focus on key areas, to promote early diagnosis and better outcomes for patients with sepsis.   The key areas are as follows:

  • Preventing avoidable cases of sepsis.
  • Increasing awareness of sepsis amongst public and professionals.
  • Improving identification and treatment of sepsis across whole care pathway to ensure patients receive the care they need irrespective of the first point of contact with health services.
  • Improving consistency of standards and reporting – Much more robust information is needed on the true prevalence and associated burden of sepsis to inform future quality improvement initiatives.

Dr Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of UK Sepsis Trust, said:

'As Chief Executive of the Sepsis Trust, I welcome this report and the excellent, wide ranging work undertaken by the NHS Cross System Programme Board. Building on foundations laid by the Sepsis Trust over the last decade, this report contains the essence of a transformational change in the way our healthcare system manages patients with sepsis. Along with appropriate investment, we now have real opportunity to drive improvements resulting in our saving an extra 10,000 lives every year.'

What can I do if I have been affected by sepsis?

Failure to diagnose sepsis, and failure to treat it once it has been identified, is one of the most significant causes of death from the condition.