Reduced hospital pneumonia deaths

HOSPITAL deaths from the most common form of pneumonia decreased by 14 per cent between 2009 and 2015, according to new research published by the British Thoracic Society (BTS).

Researchers from Nottingham University Hospital Trust and the BTS analysed data from 23,315 UK hospital admissions for community acquired pneumonia (CAP) across six years and found that key elements of hospital care improved during this period and could have contributed to the fall in deaths within 30 days of admission.

The study found an 11.5 per cent increase in the proportion of adults who received their first dose of antibiotics within four hours of being admitted to hospital and 3.7 per cent increase in the proportion of adults who had a chest X-ray to help confirm the diagnosis in the same timescale. Lung specialists have also pointed to the probable role of national medical guidelines from the British Thoracic Society and NICE in helping drive these improvements.

Pneumonia is the sixth most common cause of death in the UK, killing around 29,000 people a year, mostly among older people and children under 10 years. Around 220,000 people receive a diagnosis of pneumonia each year.

Dr Lisa Davies, Consultant Respiratory Physician, University Hospital Aintree NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool and Chair of the British Thoracic Society’s Board, said: "Pneumonia is a killer, and places a huge health and economic burden on NHS and society – especially during the Winter. This research is really encouraging and shows that if NHS hospitals put in place simple steps, they have the power to save lives from pneumonia.

"Looking wider, we also need a systematic approach in the community to prevent pneumonia happening in the first place and help speed up diagnosis."