Last updated: 17.11.15

Lack of hospital staff training for recognising sepsis

Almost half of hospital trusts in England are unable to provide evidence of training for their staff in spotting sepsis.

It is vital for hospital staff to be able to recognise the symptoms of illness and disease, but a new report has revealed that almost half of hospital trusts in England are still not able to provide evidence of training for their staff in spotting sepsis.

Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, setting off a series of reactions including widespread inflammation, swelling and blood clotting.

The latest report, published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sepsis, highlighted a lack of preparation among acute providers in tackling the fatal condition.

The findings, based on 88 responses from 159 hospital trusts in England - including those with and without foundation status - showed that the proportion of medical and nursing staff trained in sepsis recognition differed hugely between trusts, ranging from eight per cent to 100 per cent.

A link between training and size of trust was also noted, with an average of 76 per cent of trained staff in large trusts, 67 per cent of staff trained in medium-sized trusts, and 59 per cent in small trusts.

Following the findings, the government has called for the recording of the number of trained staff and the duration of training received to be made a statutory requirement.

What's more, training in the recognition and management of sepsis will be mandatory for all medical and nursing staff, as well as any induction courses.

In comparison to the £1.75 million and £4 million budget for tackling stroke and cancer respectively, the average budget for approaching sepsis among trusts that did provide evidence of training was just £64,660.

Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, added: "We know that proper sepsis care can save the NHS around £160m annually so putting aside a specific budget for trusts to address sepsis seems like common sense.

"It also puts sepsis on a par with other life-threatening conditions. We need to support those trusts that recognise current limitations and want to deliver real change."