Thousands of patients are still unnecessarily dying from sepsis despite calls to improve the care of patients with the condition, experts have warned.
Opportunities to save lives lost to sepsis are being missed because the NHS has not made enough progress in improving care for those affected, the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said.
One year ago the Ombudsman made a series of recommendations to increase awareness and improve the care of people with the condition after a report concluded that too many sepsis patients were not being cared for adequately.
“Almost one year on, some progress has been made, but the pace and scale of change is concerning”
Dame Julie Mellor
While some progress has been made in the care of these patients the pace of change in the health services is “concerning”, PHSO Dame Julie Mellor said.
“Our report on sepsis, Time To Act, highlighted that not enough was being done to save the lives of people with sepsis,” said Dame Julie.
“Almost one year on, some progress has been made, but the pace and scale of change is concerning.
“There needs to be a combined effort by the health sector to improve awareness, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. We know that most lives are lost during the first few hours of arrival in hospital and so need quicker diagnosis and treatment or else thousands more lives will be lost unnecessarily through this devastating condition.”
Meanwhile, the Public Administration Select Committee has announced that it will be holding a hearing into sepsis later this month.
Dame Julie added: “We welcome that Parliament is using the insight from our report to hold NHS services to account to find out how quickly and effectively our recommendations are being acted upon. It means also that people who complain to us can see that their complaint can lead to change.”
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection. When someone has sepsis their body goes into overdrive which can lead to a reduced blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys. If not treated promptly it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
NHS figures show that every year in the UK around 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis and around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition.
On Tuesday NHS England has issued a patient safety alert on the condition in a bid to improve awareness among the medical profession.
A spokesman said: “We have an ongoing programme to educate clinicians around the early recognition and treatment of sepsis. Our focus is on early detection, getting patients the right treatment at the right time, and involving senior staff quickly when patients deteriorate, all of which will improve their chances of making a full recovery.
“As part of this programme we have issued a patient safety alert drawing clinicians’ attention to the early detection and treatment of sepsis.”