‘The Bionic MP’ & UK Sepsis Trust call for cross-party consensus on sepsis

With the announcement of a UK General Election in July 2024, the UK Sepsis Trust is calling on political parties to support its three-point plan to improve diagnosis and care for sepsis. The Trust is calling for manifesto commitments to:

  1. Measure and publish performance data on the sepsis care pathway. Reliable data are needed to understand the quality of NHS sepsis care, identify opportunities for improvement and provide targeted support where needed.
  2. Empower frontline decision-making with better integration of rapid diagnostics. There is no single test to diagnose sepsis, but diagnostics help doctors make important decisions about the types of treatment to use. Diagnostic tests are typically done in centralised laboratories, which means clinicians have to wait for the results. Time is of the essence when treating sepsis, so health professionals need access to fast and reliable tests to reduce preventable deaths.
  3. Raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis and signpost rehabilitation services to reduce pressures on the NHS. Empowering the public to ask “Could it be sepsis?” can help save lives, and ensuring survivors have access to ongoing care and support will help keep them well and out of hospital.

Sepsis is the body’s overreaction to an infection. The body’s immune system (which protects us from infection) goes into overdrive and starts to attack its own tissues and organs. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, which can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if not recognised and treated early.

In May 2024, Craig Mackinlay made his long-awaited return to Parliament after losing his hands and feet to sepsis. He has voiced his support for the UK Sepsis Trust’s calls.

“Sepsis changed my life in an instant. Thanks to my wife, I was lucky enough to survive. Following my quadruple amputation, I know how important it is to raise awareness about sepsis, and make sure people can be diagnosed and treated quickly.”
– Craig Mackinlay (former Conservative MP)

In the UK, five people die from sepsis every hour. The condition is more common than heart attacks, and kills more people than road accidents and bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined. The York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) estimates that sepsis costs the UK economy up to £15.6 billion every year.

“The burden of sepsis on everyday people, the NHS and the economy is clear. There is more that decision-makers can do to protect people from this devastating condition and the impact it has on their loved ones.”
– Hajira Piranie, Labour candidate, Harborough, Oadby and Wigston

The UK Sepsis Trust is determined to put an end to the personal impacts that sit behind the sepsis headlines. The charity supports survivors and fights to end preventable deaths from sepsis by advocating for political change, educating healthcare professionals and raising public awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis.

“Sepsis is never far from the headlines – every few weeks, we hear about a hospital inquiry into a sepsis-related death, a bereaved parent’s advocacy efforts or a person’s experience surviving sepsis. As a frontline clinician, I see firsthand that the system is not fit-for-purpose. In this hugely important election month, The UK Sepsis Trust is calling for all political parties to commit to our plan for improving sepsis care for people across the country.”
– Dr Ron Daniels BEM (Founder & Joint CEO, The UK Sepsis Trust)