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New national guidance to address sepsis, the silent killer, is welcomed by the UK Sepsis Trust

New national guidance to address sepsis, the silent killer, is welcomed by the UK Sepsis Trust 

·                     A new approach to treat suspected sepsis, and measures to address the threat of antibiotic resistance are included in guidance released today by the Academy of Medical Royal Collegesi 

·                     To support implementation of the guidance, the UK Sepsis Trust is launching a wealth of updated tools and guidance to empower frontline healthcare professionals to treat sepsis  

·                     Sepsis affects 245,000 people in the UK every year, resulting in 48,000 deaths – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combinedii 


[12th May 2022], London – The UK Sepsis Trust welcomes today’s publication of new national guidelines, which propose significant changes in the way people with suspected sepsis are treated with antibiotics.1 The charity is also developing refreshed resources to support medics to implement the guidelines.  

“Ten years ago, when the UK Sepsis Trust was established, sepsis was not a term widely understood outside of intensive care units. Increased awareness of, and education around, the grave dangers of sepsis over the last decade have culminated in the important new guidance published today,” advised Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust. “To equip those working tirelessly on the frontline to recognise and manage sepsis decisively and responsibly, the Trust is delighted to support implementation of the guidelines via our resources and tools which will help stop this life-threatening condition in its tracks.”  

Responding to the publication, the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt, MP said: “Huge strides have been made over the last decade in terms of UK patient safety and how we identify and treat suspected sepsis. Whilst there is always more to do, today I am encouraged by the recommendations within these new guidelines and the opportunity offered by the UK Sepsis Trust's track record of helping health professionals with implementation tools. It’s time to apply the lessons we’ve already learnt on patient safety and reduce the number of lives that are needlessly lost to this silent killer.” 


Following close collaboration across the UK and Ireland’s medical royal colleges, the guidelines from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (the Academy) empower healthcare professionals (HCPs) to recognise and treat the very sickest people with sepsis immediately (within one hour) and assess and treat those who are less ill within three hours. The extended time for investigation of those less sick enables the medical team to accurately identify the source of infection and prescribe the correct antibiotic, reducing the risk of antibiotic overuse and subsequent antimicrobial resistance (AMR).1  

The Academy’s new guidance proposes that patients with suspected sepsis are assessed via an updated National Early Warning Score, which assigns a score to a patient’s vital signs, and provides an overall number that determines the speed and seniority of clinical response. An equivalent Paediatric Early Warning Score is currently being trialled for children.1  



Tools and resourcesiii from the UK Sepsis Trust, created to support the clinical response include:  

·         The 6th Edition of the UK Sepsis Trust’s ‘The Sepsis Manual’, a free educational tool for HCPs, which includes the Trust’s ‘Sepsis Six’ treatment pathway, which reduces the risk of patients dying.  

·         A suite of clinical screening and action tools, compatible with the new Academy guidelines, to guide HCP decision-making. 

·         A series of e-learning modules for HCPs and the public to help readers understand, identify, and manage sepsis (in development). 

Five people die with sepsis every hour in the UK.iv Globally, the figure rises to one person every three seconds.2 Of those who survive, 40% suffer permanent, life changing after-effects. However, with early diagnosis, sepsis can often be effectively treated.4  

The ‘Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ Working Party Position Statement on the Initial Antimicrobial Treatment of Sepsis’ is available here: []. The UK Sepsis Trust’s professional tools and resources are available here: [Professional resources - Sepsis Trust]. 

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Last Updated: 13-May-2022