Society for Acute Medicine response to Ombudsman report on sepsis

Press release: strictly embargoed until 13/09/203 00:01

Society for Acute Medicine Response to Ombudsman report on sepsis.

“Sepsis should be at the top of every acute physician’s priority list”

Sepsis is a common cause for hospital admission and many patients with sepsis will spend the first part of their hospital stay in an acute medical unit (AMU). It is critically important that all staff working the AMU have the necessary skills to recognise and initiate prompt treatment for this condition.

Dr Chris Roseveare, President of the Society for Acute Medicine said: “This document highlights some truly shocking examples where the care of patients with sepsis has fallen well below the standard which would be expected. In many cases the deficiency was a failure to recognise sepsis as the cause of the patient’s illness; delays in senior review and failure to escalate to higher dependency care were also key features in this report.

“The Society for Acute Medicine  is committed to raising standards for the care of patients admitted to hospital in an emergency, seven days per week. The importance of seven day consultant presence on the AMU and early consultant review for all patients on the AMU is emphasised in our quality standards documents and a recent toolkit launched in October 2012; many hospitals are already achieving this, while others are urgently working to expand their acute medicine consultant workforce”.

SAM is already working closely with organisations such as The Sepsis Trust and the Royal College of Physicians to help raise awareness. Recently Dr Dan Beckett and Dr Claire Gordon, two acute physicians from Scotland cycled from Edinburgh to London to help raise awareness of sepsis, using social media to highlight the key symptoms which patients need to recognise. The recent acute care toolkit: ‘The Medical Patient at Risk’, published by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and launched at our spring meeting highlights the need to use the national early warning scoring (NEWS) system to recognise a patient’s deterioration as early as possible and to ensure that appropriate monitoring and staffing is provided to meet the patient’s needs. Many of our recent conferences have featured symposia on sepsis recognition and treatment, which has also been highlighted in our Acute Medicine journal.

Dr Roseveare added: “Sepsis is a serious condition, but patients are more likely to survive if the problem is recognised and treated quickly. If we are to ensure that the failings identified in this report are not repeated we must provide appropriate training and support to all staff working in acute medical units. Sepsis should be at the top of every acute physician’s priority list”.


Notes to the editors:

  • Acute medicine (also known as acute internal medicine) is the specialty which deals with the immediate and early treatment of adult patients with a variety of medical conditions who present in hospital as emergencies.
  • The Society for Acute Medicine is the national representative body for the speciality of acute medicine and represents around a thousand members.
  • Dr Roseveare has been an acute medical consultant in a large teaching hospital since 1999.

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