NICE is urging hospital staff to treat people with life-threatening sepsis symptoms within one hour.

In a new draft quality standard, NICE says that people showing signs of sepsis must be checked carefully. Once someone is classed as high-risk, they should be seen by senior staff and given the right treatment within an hour.

Professor Gillian Leng, NICE Deputy Chief Executive, said, ‘Severe symptoms can develop in sepsis very quickly. If high-risk patients are not identified and treated promptly, people can be left with debilitating problems. In the worst cases, they may die.

‘This quality standard highlights priorities in the continued fight to improve sepsis care. We know from recent case reviews that there are inconsistencies in how people’s symptoms are assessed in different settings. More can be done to provide rapid treatment.’

The quality standard highlight areas from NICE’s 2016 sepsis guideline that will help health professionals improve care for those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill.

It stresses that staff in any setting, from GPs to paramedics, should check people for specific signs that will show if their symptoms are life-threatening. This includes taking their temperature or heart rate, or checking for rashes and skin discolouration.

Anyone found to be high-risk should be seen by senior hospital staff immediately. This review would be carried out by an available doctor or nurse who is authorised to prescribe antibiotics.

Dr Ron Daniels BEM, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, commented, ‘An emphasis on timely treatment and diagnosis is crucial if we are to improve outcomes for people with sepsis, and this quality standard could be a hugely impactful reinforcement of the recent guideline recommendation that sepsis is treated with same urgency as heart attacks.’

NICE also said that high-risk sepsis patients should get antibiotics and IV fluid treatment within the hour. If it will take more than an hour to get someone to hospital, GPs or ambulance staff can also administer antibiotics.

Prompt treatment means that people are more likely to survive and it reduces the risk of further problems like heart failure or limb amputation.

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