The Fight against Sepsis

The heart breaking article about William Mead in last week’s edition has prompted me to write about Sepsis. In the last parliament, with the UK Sepsis Trust Chief Executive & Consultant in Critical Care, Ron Daniels, we set up the APPG on Sepsis.

The APPG has made real progress over the past two years raising awareness of Sepsis and securing a range of actions to prevent avoidable deaths. The Health Ombudsman did a very hard hitting report about the scale of the problem and a Parliamentary Select Committee has followed up on the Ombudsman’s report.

Earlier this year, I welcomed the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP proposed measures to prevent deaths and serious harm from Sepsis that included an audit of every GP surgery in England on their effectiveness at diagnosing the condition, which was due to take place by the end of March this year.

Plans also included the creation of new NICE clinical guidelines, the introduction of an incentive scheme for hospitals, the launch of a public awareness campaign and the development of a new diagnostic tool for GPs to recognise symptoms in children under five.

Each year, Sepsis claims around 31,000 lives including around 1,000 cases of children under 5 – more than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The cost of treating people with sepsis is estimated to be £2 billion a year. Significant savings of lives could be made with early diagnosis and treatment.

Jeremy Hunt MP said he wants to make tackling sepsis as important to the NHS as tackling the superbugs Clostridium Difficile and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“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.”

Since being re-elected, I have contacted Jeremy Hunt MP requesting a progress report on the promised actions. Locally, the KCCG have assured me plans are in place to raise awareness and the implementation of NHS staff training.