An audit of GP practices will be conducted to assess their performance in diagnosing and treating sepsis, as part of new proposals announced by the DH.
The audit will use an electronic tool to identify the number of patients who have suffered from symptoms of sepsis. This will initially be targeted at children under the age of five, but will be expanded to adults eventually. The tool is being developed for release in autumn 2015.
Before the release of the tool, the DH is encouraging general practice staff to review ten cases of children from their practice who have been admitted to hospital with infection, and to determine whether an appropriate assessment for sepsis was made in the primary care setting.
Other measures announced include the provision of training and education on sepsis by HEE, and a public awareness campaign by PHE.
Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: 'Sepsis is the hidden killer which claims 31,000 lives in England every year: more than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Rapid access to healthcare, and reliable delivery of the most basic aspects of care, can save an extra 11,000 lives every year.'
The DH estimates that sepsis claims around 31,000 lives and costs the NHS in England about £2 billion, with approximately 1000 cases a day for children under the age of five. The DH has stated that the proposals are intended to make sepsis as 'as important to the NHS as C. difficile and MRSA,' rates of which have halved since 2010 under similar measures.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the measures, saying: 'Sepsis is a devastating condition that kills more than 80 people in England every day. It's time to apply the lessons we've already learnt on patient safety and reduce the number of lives that are needlessly lost to this silent killer.'