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Call for sepsis registry as report reveals ‘shocking’ cost to NHS and economy

Experts have called on the Government to set up a registry to track cases of sepsis, after ‘shocking’ research findings suggested it affects more than twice as many people and costs the UK billions of pounds more than had previously been estimated.

A team of York academics, working with the UK Sepsis Trust, found there are around 260,000 cases of sepsis every year – over 100,000 more than earlier projections indicated.

The researchers estimated this costs the UK economy ’up to’ £15.6bn every year – compared with previous estimates suggesting the cost was in the region of £2.5bn.

According to the authors, the Government could save thousands of lives and reduce the economic burden by £2.8bn through improving access to healthcare and basis care for sepsis.

Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said the figures were ‘a shocking new indication of the gravity and sheer scale of the problem’.

Dr Daniels added that the ‘dearth of reliable data’ on sepsis meant it was ‘imperative that the Government acts decisively to develop a national “sepsis registry” and introduces coding practices for sepsis in all NHS trusts’.

He said: ‘A precise understanding of how the NHS handles sepsis is urgently required to prevent avoidable deaths, improve outcomes for survivors and save billions of pounds for the UK as a whole.’

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director at NHS England, said: ‘Health professionals are spotting and treating more cases of sepsis than ever before, but there is still more we can do to reduce the terrible toll that this severe and life-threatening condition has on patients and their families.

‘That’s why we are working closely with the UK Sepsis Trust and medical leaders on awareness-raising to ensure that the signs of sepsis are spotted as soon as possible, as well as introducing more measures than ever before to support and equip organisations and health professionals to improve the chances of survival and reduce complications.’

It comes after a range of initiatives, including a NICE guideline aimed urging GPs to step up efforts to treat potential sepsis 'as urgently as chest pain' and an NHS England diktat to record cases of sepsis through an online form followed by efforts to get GPs to use online sepsis tools - despite concerns these were causing problems during consultations.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Oh yes, it's that really helpful guidance that said;

    ‘non-specific, non-localised presentation, for example feeling very unwell, and may not have a high temperature’

    So, on the basis of Sir Keogh's recommendation to treat suspected sepsis as urgently as chest pain, should I be asking all patients who says they are feeling very unwell to call 999? That'll be the logical conclusion from comments from those political academics.

    Sorry AED and ambulance trusts, I'm just following my guidelines as GPs are no longer allowed to exercise our judgement :)

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  • Unwell?All go to AED do not pass go do not collect £200!

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  • Oh sorry isnt that what 111 do already.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    This reminds me of the past when GPs were regularly vilified for not having crystal balls and 'missing' meningitis. Vaccination sorted that one out not flogging GPs.

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  • This is a coding issue,sepsis attracts a higher rate than other codes such as uti or rti so hospitals code it as sepsis to get more of my colleagues told me that his registrar told him they were instructed to do this by hospital management
    The increase is not real as the definition of sepsis is not defined

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  • Interesting that this report comes out shortly before a Memorial service for a high profile case that Hunt is due to attend.

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  • I have identified the cause of the increasing rate of sepsis in the UK.
    Rather coincidentally all these unicellular lifeforms all sit on the same bench.

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  • any studies on the ?sepsis that floods A+E and crashes the ambulance service and busts the antibiotic targets? One good thing, if you need a quick ambulance, the "could be sepsis" helps.

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