In a recent investigation, 24 out of 104 acute hospital trusts in the UK have failed to administer antibiotics to half the patients with signs of sepsis within an hour, the suggested time as outlined by NHS. Workers from 14 hospitals are also not quick enough to catch on to signs of sepsis in half the patients to warrant urgent medical attention, resulting in escalation of death tolls.

NHS recently introduced the guidelines to combat sepsis, which is highly preventable, provided it is quickly identified and rectified.

Sepsis: UK’s leading preventable disease

Sepsis is a silent killer, causing 44,000 deaths in the UK every year. 14,000 out of these deaths are preventable. According to the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC), sepsis-related issues cost the NHS more than GBP1.6 billion a year.

Sepsis, blood poisoning or septicaemia is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by infections on wounds. Signs in patients – e.g. having high or low fever, having chills and shivers, heart palpitations and rapid breathing – if detected early, can avoid the body from progressing into a violent immune response and attacking its own organs, possibly leading to complications or death.

Stats showing Britain’s sepsis crisis, from BBC Panorama. Photo credit: NHS Data/BBC
Stats showing Britain’s sepsis crisis, from BBC Panorama. Photo credit: NHS Data/BBC

 Antibiotics serve as sepsis’ main treatment. Tablets are given for consumption at home if sepsis is detected early. In serious cases, however, intravenous antibiotics is necessary.

Doctors are urged to be more alert in picking up signs of sepsis. Possible signs of sepsis should be treated as urgently as chest pains that could possibly be a sign of a heart attack.

Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the Sepsis Trust echoed that “the scale of this problem is enormous, sepsis affects a quarter of a million people across the UK every year and it causes more deaths than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer put together.”

People still dying needlessly

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, insists that NHS is making progress in curbing sepsis, despite people are still dying from the preventable disease. Photo credit: PA/Daily Mail
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, insists that NHS is making progress in curbing sepsis, despite people are still dying from the preventable disease. Photo credit: PA/Daily Mail

UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt admits that people are still dying needlessly, but also insists that NHS is “making significant progress.”
“I wouldn't pretend that we get this right everywhere,” Hunt said. “We're on a journey, we definitely need to do a lot better, but I think we have made significant progress.”

Based on the investigation, with the figures dating back to 2015, it is noted that 10 hospital trusts identified every suspected sepsis case, while six out of 10 patients needing antibiotics were getting them within the first hour.

Hunt added, "There are preventable deaths happening, but we're bringing them down and I think that the picture is much improved from two years ago. Safety is at the top of the NHS’ in-tray and sepsis is, if you like, a litmus test as to whether we're getting there.” "And I would say that what it shows is that we are making progress – but there is a lot more work to do,” concluded Hunt. MIMS

Read more:
Sepsis survival rates increased by faster hospital action
How one bacteria might help prevent sepsis infections in infants globally
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Sources:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/11/hospitals-missing-symptoms-sepsis-investigation-finds/
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41204389
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4871116/One-four-NHS-trusts-not-giving-sepsis-drugs-time.html