North East already working to address new sepsis priorities

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Doctors and nurses in the North East have been working collaboratively for more than a year to ensure the effective recognition and response to sepsis.

The life-threatening condition was thrust into the spotlight last week following the publication of new national guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The guidance places emphasis on the importance of early detection and treatment of sepsis, of which there are an estimated 150,000 cases in the UK each year and 44,000 deaths. It calls for sepsis to be treated as ‘an immediate life-threatening condition’ and with the same urgency as patients with chest pain.

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN) is already delivering a number of projects across the region focusing on better recognition and response to sepsis.

Tony Roberts, patient safety collaborative programme lead for the AHSN, said: “The AHSN recognised the need to ensure the prompt diagnosis and treatment of sepsis when we launched our Patient Safety Collaborative Programme in 2014.

“We have funded and helped deliver projects which have been tackling the issue in a bid to better the care provided to patients in the region.”

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Mr Roberts added: “A key element of the work has been bringing people together from a range of healthcare settings to develop clear pathways for prevention and management of sepsis. There has been an incredible amount of hard work, collaboration and progress made in this area and we will continue to facilitate discussions and improvements with our partners in line with the NICE guidelines.”

Working with the North East Quality Observatory Service (NEQOS) and Clarity Informatics, the AHSN funded the serious infection project which monitors the prevalence and implementation of nationally recognised care bundles for sepsis and community acquired pneumonia.

The care bundle adherence analysis project formed part of larger scale regional work around sepsis aimed to reduce mortality, length of stay in hospital and re-admissions.

A recent evaluation into work to improve sepsis care in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust indicates its focus on tackling the condition appears to have already had a positive impact. The evaluation estimated a 21 per cent reduction in hospital mortality for sepsis and that 158 lives might have been saved.

Northumbria’s work is informing the collaborative work across the hospitals throughout the North East and North Cumbria and clinicians from all the hospitals will meet next week to agree how best to implement the new NICE Guidance. Doctors from Northumbria will be sharing the lessons they have learnt about how best to improve care for patients with sepsis.