It's been announced today (Monday February 20th) that sepsis could be costing the UK economy over £13 billion MORE each year, than was previously thought.
Dr Ron Daniels BEM, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, has provided me with a copy of the press release announcing this shock figure. The press release is reproduced below:
- New data from an independent study shows the cost of sepsis to the UK economy is likely to be as much as £15.6 billion every year, rather than the £2.5 billion previously estimated
- The UK sees 260,000 cases of sepsis annually – over 100,000 more than initial projections suggested
- Potential savings to the economy by improving sepsis care across the NHS could be as high as £2.8 billion
Monday 20th February – A study commissioned by the UK Sepsis Trust and carried out by the independent York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) has found that sepsis is incurring costs of up to £15.6 billion every year for the UK economy. Mortality and long-term complications due to delayed diagnosis and treatment in sepsis patients is resulting in billions of pounds worth of lost productivity each year.
Previous estimates suggested that the cost to the economy was in the region of £2.5 billion, but the latest analysis indicates the problem is far worse, both in terms of the economic burden and the number of people affected. The reported 260,000 annual cases of sepsis show incidence of the condition in the UK to be much higher than previous estimates of 150,000.
But government intervention to improve access to healthcare and reliability of basic care could make a huge impact, saving thousands of lives and reducing the economic burden by as much as £2.8 billion (largely through minimising indirect costs due to lost productivity). The full report was presented today at a Portcullis House event hosted by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England.
Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. If not identified and treated quickly, it can lead rapidly to organ failure and death, and leaves thousands of survivors with life-changing disabilities. The condition harms adults and children alike, and results in at least 44,000 deaths every year in the UK. Earlier recognition and treatment could save more than 14,000 lives annually.
Despite the economic and human costs associated with sepsis there is very little data on incidence, care pathways and costs in the UK. The estimates reported in YHEC’s study are based on the evidence that does exist, but are heavily caveated due to significant gaps in data and a lack of clarity. Better quality data and more accurately recorded incidence rates would enable crucial analyses and the development of targeted plans to improve sepsis care throughout the NHS.
The report recommends that new practices for coding sepsis should be adopted by NHS trusts across the UK, and reinforces the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s calls for the Department of Health or NHS England to create a ‘sepsis registry’ to capture key information about sepsis patients.
Dr Ron Daniels BEM, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, comments: “We’ve long been aware that sepsis causes thousands of unnecessary deaths every year and presents an unmanageable economic burden. A crippling paucity of data has thus far confined us to conservative estimates, but the figures reported in YHEC’s study are nonetheless a shocking indication of the gravity of the problem. It’s sobering to learn that the issue is so much greater than previously estimated.
“Equally sobering, though, is the dearth of reliable data recorded for a condition that carries such an overwhelming cost in human and economic terms. It’s imperative that the government acts decisively to develop a national ‘sepsis registry’ and introduces coding practices for sepsis in all NHS trusts. A precise understanding of how the NHS handles sepsis is urgently required to prevent avoidable deaths, improve outcomes for survivors and save billions of pounds for the UK as a whole.”
UK Sepsis Trust website: http://sepsistrust.org/
UK Sepsis Trust Twitter: https://twitter.com/UKSepsisTrust
UK Sepsis Trust Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheUkSepsisTrust
Dr Ron Daniels BEM Twitter: https://twitter.com/SepsisUK