SURVIVAL rates for patients suffering with sepsis in regional hospitals has ‘dramatically’ improved, according to the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

The trust has made the fatal condition, which claims the lives of around 44,000 people a year, a priority by ensuring more patients are screened and treated more quickly.

The death rates from the condition across the trust's three hospitals have subsequently been reduced to better than the national average.

Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, is the life-threatening reaction to an infection, in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues.

This is part of a project that has seen 1,000 clinical members of staff trained on identifying the condition in patients, with a new dedicated nursing role created to oversee clinical advice and training.

A new care pathway for patients with the aim of improving prevention, diagnosis and management of sepsis includes key definitions, treatment guidelines and staff roles and responsibilities when caring.

IT improvements including in line systems across the hospitals will allow staff to quickly report patients with the condition.

Patient information leaflets were produced to provide sepsis survivors and those more at risk of developing sepsis with information about the condition and its treatment as well as their rehabilitation and recovery.

Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose with symptoms often being confused with other conditions.

Early symptoms of sepsis in older children and adults can include a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature, chills and shivering, confusion, cold or blotchy hands and feet, and not passing as much urine as normal.

Dr Mike McAlindon, clinical lead for the Sepsis Quality Improvement Project at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Sepsis is an important cause of death in people of all ages and is a major cause of avoidable mortality.

"Thanks to the hard work of staff across our trust we’ve managed to dramatically reduce the mortality from sepsis over the past year.

“This is good news for patients as now they can be assured that if they come to hospital with sepsis, they will receive a good level of care, giving them a better chance at survival.”