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Hospital deaths from sepsis jump by more than a third

Will the number of deaths from sepsis continue to rise?


According to data collected by Professor Sir Brian Jarman, director of the Dr Foster research unit at Imperial College, London, hospital deaths from sepsis have risen by more than a third in two years.


In the year ending April 2017 there were 15,722 deaths in hospital or within 30 days of discharge attributed to sepsis, an increase of 38.8% since April 2015, showed the data.


Staff shortages and overcrowding on hospital wards are partly to blame, says Professor Jarman. There are not enough doctors per bed and bed occupancy has been over 90% in recent years when it should not go above 85%, he said.


Sepsis is a serious complication of infection, which, left untreated, can lead to organ failure and death, but if spotted early can be treated with antibiotics.


NHS England said there has been huge effort to increase clinical recognition of and recording of sepsis over the past three years.


Chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust and an intensive care consultant Dr Ron Daniels said sepsis is one of the most common causes of death in the UK and kills up to 44,000 people a year in hospital and in the community.


But hospital records make it nearly impossible to keep track of the true number, he said, because a death from sepsis is often recorded as the underlying infection.


Professor Jarman said he intends to alert hospitals with higher mortality rates to the practises of hospitals with lower death rates.


Further information

BBC News: Hospital sepsis deaths ‘jump by a third’