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NHS staff shortages are ‘biggest’ sepsis risk this winter, charity warns

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The looming NHS staffing crisis could lead to more patients dying from sepsis, a major UK charity has warned.

Doctors have told the UK Sepsis Trust that staff shortages and high numbers of patients to treat are two of the most common factors preventing them from following national sepsis guidance.

The chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, Dr Ron Daniels, warned that the NHS was in a “fragile” state and said workforce shortages were some of the “biggest potential causes of harm” in the context of diagnosing the condition.

In a report by the trust, shared with The Independent, 65 out of 100 doctors in the UK warned that they had missed cases of sepsis.

The most common reason for this was staff shortages alongside “high patient caseloads”, they said.

Dr Daniels warned that staff might find it increasingly difficult to spot sepsis in the coming months as the staffing crisis intensifies.

He told The Independent: “The NHS is in a fragile state after the pandemic... and staff absence is a fact of life within the NHS at the moment. That’s partly because staff have left, it is partly because we have high caseloads, but it is also because staff are still off sick".

“It is my view that staff shortages are one of the biggest potential causes of harm that our public face in the context of developing sepsis, and we need to urgently address it.”

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Source: The Independent, 26 September 2022

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