This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/04/patients-lives-put-risk-sepsis-delays-figures-suggest/
Hospitals are meant to put patients on an antibiotic drip within an hour when sepsis is suspected – but figures from 100 NHS trusts in England suggest thousands of cases are waiting longer.
Dr Ron Daniels, of the UK Sepsis Trust, said the figures showed patients were being put at risk.
Dr Daniels said the one-hour window was “essential to increase the chances of surviving”.
The Sepsis Trust believes there are about 250,000 cases every year in the UK – and more than 50,000 deaths.
NHS England said hospitals were getting better at identifying cases sooner.
The research, by the BBC, comes three years after hospitals in England were instructed to record their identification and treatment of sepsis.
They show that around 75 per cent of patients got treatment within an hour between January and March, as is recommended.
But at some hospitals more than half of patients waited longer. At Salford Royal NHS trust just 36 per cent of cases were seen in an hour, with just 42 per cent seen within this timescale at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, and 50 per cent achieving the target at Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust.
Performance on wards and in Accident & Emergency departments was similar, but A&E departments have shown some improvements since 2017, when about 60 per cent of patients began antibiotics within an hour.
In Wales, 71 per cent of A&E patients and 83 per cent of hospital patients had antibiotics within an hour, the investigation found.
Sepsis is a deadly overreaction of the immune system, in response to infections, which can start from even the most minor injury, such as a contaminated cut.
Normally, the immune system kicks in to fight an infection. But if it spreads, the immune system launches a major response, which can have catastrophic effects, leading to septic shock, organ failure and death.
Hospitals have been given detailed guidance on how to monitor and treat patients, but symptoms are hard to spot.
Celia Ingham Clark, from NHS England, said medics needed to ensure drugs went to the right patients, following clear screening protocols.
She said: “It’s important not to automatically give antibiotics to everyone, instead we want to identify the sickest patients and get them assessed and then quickly give them antibiotics.”
Simon Smith, 51, went to the A&E department at Russells Hall Hospital, in Dudley, West Midlands, with pain in his leg, last July.
Despite deteriorating rapidly, with a high temperature and heart rate, it was six days before he was given antibiotics to treat sepsis.
He fought the infection for four months, before it killed him.
His widow, Hayley, said: “I am just so angry about the delay giving him antibiotics – that could have made all the difference.
“He had all the signs.
“I’ve seen notes acknowledging he should definitely have had them on day two – but it didn’t happen.”
Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said it had offered its “heartfelt condolences” to his family.
It said it recognised there were “areas of learning” from the case but could not comment further until the inquest into his death had been held.