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Hospital sepsis admissions more than double in three years

Hospital admissions for sepsis have more than doubled over the past three years.

Data obtained from NHS Digital by the Press Association showed over 350,000 hospital admissions (350,334) of sepsis were recorded in 2017/18 compared to three years earlier, which saw 169,125 admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of sepsis.

Experts at a sepsis charity have attributed the increase to heightened public awareness and an ageing population.

The data looked at the age breakdowns of sepsis hospital admissions and although there was a rise in all age groups, there were more admissions of patients in the over-55 age groups.

The group that was admitted with sepsis the most was the 75 to 84-year-old patients, seeing 78,397 admissions in 2017/18, more than double than in 2015/16, which only had 32,846 admissions.

The increase in sepsis hospital admissions rose particularly in younger age groups. There were 38,401 admissions for children under 4 in 2017/18, compared to 30,981 in 2015/16.

For children and young people 24 and under, there were 48,647 admissions in 2017/18, a rise of 32% since 2015/16.

UK Sepsis Trust chief executive Dr Ron Daniels said: 'These alarming new data highlight the increasing reliability on the recording of sepsis by the medical professions, in addition to the contribution of an ageing population and increased survival among very sick neonates.

'Public awareness has heightened to a similar degree to clinical awareness over a similar time period, which has potential to impact on those working at the first line of contact with our public. A public empowered to ask ‘could it be sepsis’, whilst primarily directed to 111, could result in increased attendances to GP surgeries as well as emergency departments.'

Readers' comments (8)

  • Same phenomenon as AKI. Hospital paid more if patient has sepsis recorded, therefore every admission initially coded as sepsis and diagnosis not retracted when blood cultures, xrays and scans fail to prove. It’s a game. QOF had the same effect on rates of chronic disease (only for much less money)

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  • Strange isn't it pay them for a specific diagnosis and the rates go up.Spot on copernicus.

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  • Not entirely surprising when any infection is now sepsis, however minor....sepsis is a very specific condition defined as life threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to an infection. ie it is not just someone poorly with a UTI or a chest infection.

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  • Here we go again, ‘GPs missing sepsis!!!’ Closely followed by ‘GPs over prescribing antibiotics and speeding up the post-antibiotic apocalypse!!!!’

    Do me a favour.

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  • Anything is sepsis these days. I have pension and tax septic shock. Admit me!!!

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  • The great and the good should have called this out several years ago. Sepsis is a complex catalytic inflammatory reaction, it's unpredictable but thankfully rare. What is now called sepsis is just an excuse to exploit the NHS for cash either by up-coding or dubious legal action. It's damaging patients and doctors alike. Something needs to be done about this immoral mess.

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  • Missed by an ANP at A and E in my 20 year old son and tried to send us home, bit of a scene and 3 days iv and all well. Scariest few days of my life. I truthfully hate the dumbing down of this facimile of a health service. We are increasingly relying on front line ‘clinicians’ who are not qualified or experienced enough cope with the responsibilities expected of them.

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  • That was the directive from DoH wan't it - to increase this diagnosis??

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