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Impact: The Size of Sepsis in Wales

9 June 2014

A report by Gemma Ellis

In the UK sepsis is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of 37,000 people every year and to cost the NHS £2.5 billion. For Wales this equates to a figure of 1800 deaths and a cost of £125 million. Unfortunately, accurate data collection in the non Critical Care setting is still under development in Wales and it is thought that the real number will be far higher.

Through participation in the national RRAILS programme all Welsh healthcare organisations have reached consensus on use of the Sepsis 6 as the optimum treatment protocol with the aim of all elements being delivered within one hour of the patient having been identified as having sepsis.

As a major cause of avoidable mortality and it is imperative that we understand the size of the problem within Wales so that we can improve the quality of care our patients receive. The ‘Size of Sepsis in Wales’ will initially look at the prevalence across two large Health Boards in South East Wales as a starting point to:
• Establish an estimate of the burden of sepsis by determining the prevalence of sepsis presenting to the two UHB’s.
• Assess practice gaps in care of patients with sepsis by measuring compliance with the Sepsis 6
• To evaluate the impact of sepsis on patient outcome.

Tamas Szakmany is the Chief Investigator for CTUHB and I am CI for C&VUHB. We have teamed up with members of CUReS to undertake this study on 18th June 2014 over a 24 hour period. We are very grateful to Cardiff University students Robert Lundin and Ilaria Pignatelli for their support in co-ordinating the medical students involved. Paul Morgan Chair of Welsh Intensive Care Society, Terence Canning of the UK Sepsis Trust and Chris Hancock of RRAILS are all involved, along with many others. By working together, the NHS, Cardiff University, staff and students, very soon we will know the Size of Sepsis in Wales.