Sepsis is, if you pardon the pun, a hot topic currently. High profile cases and pressure from groups such as Sepsis Trust UK have pushed sepsis up the political and performance agenda. This higher profile, and a number of recent performance cases, has prompted us to encourage practices to have very tight protocols and procedures to help identify patients with sepsis.
Sepsis should be easy to identify, with fever, confusion, tachycardia, and hypotension. However, there are estimated to be 37000 deaths a year attributed to sepsis in the UK, of which the Sepsis Trust estimates half are avoidable.
Sepsis Trust has produced a toolkit for general practice, which can be accessed here, and can be used to develop a practice sepsis policy. There is also a Sepsis Screening and Action Tool which is available here.
Many clinical systems, such as SystmOne and EMIS, also have an embedded sepsis algorithm which will highlight patients who are at risk of sepsis. These algorithms automatically start up when the clinician enters clinical information which triggers the clinical system to identify them as being at risk, such as; fever, tachycardia, or hypotension. We thus encourage practices to use templates to Read code these clinical measurements, so that the clinical system can identify these potential red flags and start the sepsis algorithm.