GPs to be audited on sepsis

EVERY GP practice in England is to be audited by March as part of a new campaign to reduce sepsis.

A new electronic tool is also being launched this autumn that will prompt GPs to check for signs and symptoms of sepsis in line with NICE clinical guidelines. This will initially be used in children under five before being extended to adults.

The Department of Health said the new measures were partly a response to the death of three year-old Sam Morrish who died in December 2010 following delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. His parents now work closely with the UK Sepsis Trust to raise awareness of the condition.

Sepsis kills 31,000 people a year – more than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined – and costs the NHS in England an estimated £2 billion. The condition affects around 1,000 children under five.

The Department of Health said it wants to make tackling sepsis as important to the NHS as C. difficile and MRSA, where rates have nearly halved since 2010. It is thought 11,000 lives and £160 million could be saved annually through better diagnosis and treatment.

A raft of new measures are being implemented over the coming year.

In addition to an audit of practice in every GP surgery in England being carried out by March, new NICE clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in adults will be introduced by 2016.

Hospitals will be set new diagnosis and incentivised treatment goals to help raise standards. A similar scheme in 2010 to reduce blood clots saw risk assessment almost double from 47 per cent to 96 per cent.

Health Education England will provide extra training for healthcare workers and there will be more support for local health services to improve early recognition and treatment in partnership with the UK Sepsis Trust.

A public awareness campaign will also try to improve early recognition and treatment.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Sepsis is a devastating condition that kills more than 80 people in England every day. It’s time to apply the lessons we’ve already learnt on patient safety and reduce the number of lives that are needlessly lost to this silent killer.”