Australia Launches National Action Plan to Stop Sepsis

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In March 2018, the Australian Sepsis Network and The George Institute for Global Health launched a national action plan to reduce the number of people loosing their lives to sepsis in Australia each year.

The report ‘Stopping Sepsis’ sets out an action plan to drive improvements in the treatment and recovery of patients with sepsis, focusing on four key recommendations:

  1. Increasing recognition of sepsis through a national awareness campaign targeting all age groups, including vulnerable groups such as children. More than 50 % of sepsis deaths in children occur within 24 hours, so it is essential parents are aware of early symptoms and seek urgent medical care.
  2. Providing more community and peer support for survivors of sepsis and their families. Many are left with horrendous life changing conditions, including amputation and PTSD.
  3. Establishing a nationally recognized clinical standard of care for sepsis detection and treatment, and improving in hospital care by establishing dedicated sepsis teams.
  4. Setting up a national sepsis body to drive and coordinate research, to measure the true incidence of sepsis by improving reporting, and to introduce alert systems in hospitals across Australia to ensure treatment starts as early as possible.

The action plan is backed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society, and the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, as well as leading health policy professionals and sepsis survivors.

Professor Simon Finfer, head of the Australian Sepsis Network and member of the GSA Executive Board, said that whilst sepsis was often difficult to detect, it can be prevented and treated successfully if diagnosed quickly.

Sepsis kills more Australians each year than breast or prostate cancer, but there’s no public outcry about this, or national campaign to reduce the shockingly high death rate. Sepsis can be prevented and, in many cases, be treated successfully. We need to ensure that patients presenting with symptoms receive the best care possible, and that treatment begins as quickly as possible.
— Professor Simon Finfer

Sepsis is estimated to cost Australia $1.5 billion each year with many cases beginning in the community rather than in hospitals. For those that survive, half are left with a disability or impaired function that also impacts their family and friends.

The national action plan is a call for increased and coordinated efforts to raise awareness of sepsis, improve diagnosis and treatment, and provide greater support for Australians who have experienced sepsis.

The Global Sepsis Alliance congratulates everybody involved in making this huge step towards less deaths and more awareness in Australia and hopes this further serves as a successful example many more countries will follow, as demanded by the WHO Resolution on Sepsis.

Helen Reinke