Bid to end blood poisoning deaths

Whiston Hospital.
Whiston Hospital.

Scores of people could still be dying needlessly from blood poisoning in St Helens every year amid calls for better care and earlier diagnosis.

Blood poisoning -also known as sepsis- is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if it is not recognised early and treated promptly.

Figures released by the UK Sepsis Trust reveal that 38 patients were diagnosed with ‘severe sepsis’ in 2013/14 at St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust. A further 74 were diagnosed with septic shock.

Nationally around 100,000 people are diagnosed in UK hospitals every year with around 37,000 dying from the condition.

Opportunities to save lives lost to the condition are being missed because the NHS has not made enough progress in improving care for those affected, the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) said.

A trust spokesperson said: “The trust has a robust protocol in place for the management of patients with suspected sepsis and staff follow strict procedures to aid rapid diagnosis. The sepsis pathway emphasises early diagnosis and intervention which is essential for this life-threatening illness and treatment is commenced at the earliest opportunity in order to improve outcomes.

“The trust’s lead consultant for sepsis has established a sepsis group which undertakes various educational and audit activities to promote sepsis awareness amongst staff and the general public.”