NHS Guidelines Say To Treat Signs Of Sepsis As Urgently As Heart Attack Symptoms

Guidelines Include Early Signs And Symptoms For Hospital Staff To Combat Deterioration

13.07.2016

Saffron Otter, Press Officer | 0114 276 4666

New NHS guidelines instructing nurses and doctors to treat possible signs of sepsis as urgently as heart attack symptoms such as chest pains, has been welcomed by medical negligence solicitors at national law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The warning comes as parents are urged to speak up to hospital staff if they suspect their child is starting to deteriorate.

Sepsis is a leading cause of rapid deterioration in children and occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive during an infection, killing around 44,000 people in the UK every year.

The new NHS guidance, issued by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), says for nurses and doctors to react to any signs of sepsis at an early stage and provides clear symptoms and signs for staff – including fast breathing, high or low temperature, and at later stages, dizziness.

A report last year concluded that there were diagnostic delays in 36 per cent of all sepsis cases.

Chairman of the Nice guidelines, Professor Saul Faust, told media: “Anyone can succumb to sepsis. We want clinicians to start asking ‘could this be sepsis?’ much earlier on so they can rule it out or get people the treatment they need.”

The new guidelines coincides with an NHS Improvement safety alert calling for a reform to prevent children deteriorating unnoticed in hospitals from conditions such as sepsis.

The guidelines are backed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, who say parents’ voices in hospital are too often dismissed and that they should be supported to speak out without the worry of wasting staff time.

They have said that 26 per cent of preventable deaths in children or adults are because patients are not properly monitored.
Sarah Coles, a Partner and medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell, who has closely worked alongside UK Sepsis Trust, said:

Expert Opinion
“The development of the NICE guidelines for sepsis is hugely welcomed. Any steps that can be taken to raise awareness, both within the medical profession and the public, are enormous steps.

“I have worked on behalf of many clients – children and adults - who have sadly experienced a delay in diagnosis of sepsis and with tragic results, so it is promising to see that the NHS has recognised this condition as a high priority and is working towards combatting this delay.

“Thousands of people’s lives are devastated as a result of sepsis and we must do all we can to raise this awareness. These guidelines formalise this and are a result of a lot of hard work by doctors, affected families and charities such as UK Sepsis Trust led by Dr Ron Daniels.”
Sarah Coles, Partner