Patient safety

12.03.19

Hospitals face fines for missing sepsis targets under new NHS England rules

Hospitals could be fined if they fail to meet new targets for detecting and treating sepsis under new NHS England rules coming into effect in April.

The guidance requires staff to alert doctors of all patients suspected of having the deadly condition within one hour, and all NHS trusts in England will be contractually obliged to comply from April.

Sepsis kills 52,000 people each year in the UK and the announcement comes after several incidents where sepsis has been missed by hospitals, in some cases resulting in deaths.

The most recent case was reported earlier today after an inquest heard how systemic failures on the children’s ward of a hospital in Bath led to the death of a young girl from sepsis.

Despite there being signs of sepsis present, staff at the Royal United Hospital did not complete the sepsis screening tool and Marcie Tadman died in 2017.

Dr Nelly Ninis told the inquest into her death that if staff at the Royal United Hospital had followed their own guidelines then Tadman would have survived.

The new guidance from NHS England, drawn up with the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of GPs, NICE, and the UK Sepsis Trust (UKST), states that staff must look for sepsis at an early stage.

The rules will reduce the number of sepsis-related deaths and increase accountability, and the initiative comes as the NHS prepares to pilot new clinical standards and scrap the standard four-hour A&E target.

Celia Ingham Clark, medical director for clinical effectiveness at NHS England, said: “We’ve come a long way in the NHS in improving how we identify and tackle sepsis, with more people having the problem spotted and treated than ever before.

“After the success we’ve had ramping up earlier sepsis diagnosis in many parts of the country, all hospitals will now be required to use the best possible practices for identifying and treating sepsis.”

Dr Tim Nutbeam, clinical adviser for the UKST, welcomed the initiative and said: “If delivered correctly, it will ensure rapid and effective treatment for the patients who need it most, whilst ensuring that senior clinical decision-makers are supported in making informed, balanced decisions in relation to the prescribing of antibiotics.”

 Image credit - georgeclerk 

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