The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a new draft quality standard for the NHS, to improve the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening illness which arises from the body's immune system responding to infection. Patients with sepsis can deteriorate very quickly so it is important that it is identified and treated promptly.

The UK Sepsis Trust has a list of symptoms to look out for, to help the public identify sepsis and know when to seek medical attention. Sepsis may initially seem to be flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. Signs of sepsis in adults include: slurred speech, shivering or muscle pain, severe breathlessness and mottled skin. 

NICE's guidance emphasises that all NHS staff should be alert to the signs of sepsis and perform specific checks to assess the risk to the patient. Those at high risk from sepsis should receive treatment with antibiotics and IV fluids within the hour. If getting to hospital will take longer than an hour, antibiotics can be given by GPs or ambulance staff.

If you are concerned that a medical practitioner may have missed the signs that you or your child had sepsis, please contact us for a free, confidential discussion about your options.