In a recent report the Health Service Ombudsman has said more must be done to save the lives of patients with sepsis.

Sepsis, formerly called septicaemia, is when the body’s immune system overreacts to infection. It takes the lives of around 37,000 patients in the UK every year and accounts for 100,000 hospital admissions.

The report highlights significant failings in the way sepsis is diagnosed and treated, citing the experience of 10 patients who were not treated urgently enough and died. Julie Mellor, from the Health Service Ombudsman, said the NHS must take action:

“In the cases in our report, sadly, all the patients died. In some of these cases, with better care and treatment, they may have survived. We know it is not easy to spot the early signs of sepsis, but if we learn from these complaints and work to improve diagnosis and provide rapid treatment, then lives can be saved.”

Following recommendations made in the report, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) has said it will produce sepsis guidance for GPs and clinicians, explaining how to spot the condition in the early stages.

The Ombudsman also suggested that awareness must be increased, alerting the public and medical staff to groups vulnerable to sepsis. Additionally, clinical staff should listen more closely to the concerns of relatives, as they are often the first to notice the deterioration in a patient’s condition.

Dr Ron Daniels, chairman of the UK Sepsis Trust, said more than 12,500 lives could be saved each year if hospitals adopted simple life-saving measures:

“The best hospitals have achieved better outcomes from sepsis by adopting a simple set of life-saving measures, collectively known as the Sepsis 6, and ensuring that a culture of awareness around sepsis has been created.

“We now need to spread this awareness to other health professionals and to the public, and to underpin this with guidance from NHS England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.”

Have you suffered poor sepsis care?

If you or your loved one has suffered because medical professionals failed to diagnose and treat sepsis in a timely fashion, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to discuss what action you can take.

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