Pharmacists to be trained on how to spot sepsis

The Department of Health’s measure is intended to speed up sepsis diagnosis and thus help to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Sepsis in the blood

Pharmacists and care home staff are to be given additional training to spot signs of sepsis in patients, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

In an attempt to speed up sepsis diagnosis and reduce unnecessary sepsis deaths, the Department of Health will include sepsis training in mandatory first aid and resuscitation training for pharmacists and care home staff, it has confirmed.

It will also publish additional educational materials in an attempt to increase awareness among pharmacists and NHS staff, and a new definition of adult sepsis for clinicians will be produced in the hope that it will be identified and recorded more quickly.

The government is also examining the case for introducing extra sepsis training for pharmacists during their academic training.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state that patients with sepsis should be treated with antibiotics within an hour of diagnosis.

However, a recent BBC
 investigation, in which the health secretary appeared, revealed that many hospitals were falling short of this goal.

Figures quoted in the BBC programme from 104 hospital trusts showed that 78% of eligible patients were screened for sepsis and only 63% were treated with antibiotics within an hour, in the 12 months to March 2017.

Hunt said there was still “more work to do to protect the many thousands who develop this dangerous condition each year.

”We need every part of our health system on the highest possible alert for sepsis,” he added.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2017, Vol 299, 7905;299(7905):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203586

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