Report highlights lack of sepsis training for nurses

Only two out of 159 NHS trusts in England provide a day or more of sepsis training for nurses, an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has found. 

The APPG for sepsis sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to 159 trusts for its second annual review into how the NHS is tackling the life-threatening condition. Full or partial responses were provided by 113 trusts.

Just five trusts demonstrated a day (seven-and-a-half to eight hours) or more of sepsis training for medical staff – and only two did so for nurses. 

It is estimated that more than 120,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis each year in the UK. Around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition and more than 12,000 of those deaths are considered avoidable.

The amount of sepsis training, according to the FOI responses, ranged from ten minutes to nine hours a year for nurses and 11 hours a year for medical staff.

Of the trusts that responded to the FOI request:

  • 42 (37%) did not keep records of nursing staff receiving training.
  • 67 (59%) either have no specific training or do not hold records of any training taking place. 

The report also found that 88% of trusts could not provide evidence for a specific budget for sepsis. This showed that ‘doctors and nurses on the front line need more support to deal with this potentially deadly condition’, said APPG chair, Cheryl Gillan MP.

The report said: ‘Given the number of sepsis cases and fatalities each year, and the necessity for early recognition to save lives, it would appear obvious that investment in training for staff and full recording of this would lead to better reduction rates and fewer deaths.’

Many trusts ‘fall back on the fact that such training is not mandatory as a defence for their lack of provision or recording’, the report added. The APPG recommended mandatory sepsis training and monitoring to a national standard by all NHS trusts.