BAPRAS supports NCEPOD calling for more to be done to identify and treat sepsis

25 November 2015

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) supports a new report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) which shows that more must be done to identify and treat sepsis, a major cause of avoidable death in the UK. 

The research from the NCEPOD found significant failings in the prompt recognition and effective treatment of the condition, which is caused when the body's immune system is over-whelmed by infection. 45 per cent of patients included in the study who were admitted to hospital with no other obvious functional problems either suffered from a disabling condition at discharge or died with sepsis.

Sepsis kills more people than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined, with as many as 60,000 deaths a year. As an Association centred on raising professional standards of patient safety and care, BAPRAS wants to raise awareness of the critical role of Plastic Surgeons in sepsis detection and saving patient lives. 

Plastic Surgeons have a key part to play in managing acute sepsis as well as subsequent reconstruction and rehabilitation. They also have an important position in multidisciplinary management teams, as they are trained in early recognition and decisive treatment action, which is vital to saving patient lives. As a matter of routine, all BAPRAS juniors are trained in detecting and treating burn sepsis (including including toxic shock syndrome) and necrotising fasciitis. 

As well as the physical and economic consequence for patients’ lives and those of their families, late detection of sepsis has a significant impact on resources, in terms of theatre and ITU use, lengthy hospital stays, drugs and rehabilitation. 

Peter Budny, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon and chair of BAPRAS' Communications and Public Education Committee said: “Plastic Surgeons play a critical role in detecting sepsis. By understanding the role of and supporting the need for front-line plastic surgeons in multidisciplinary team working, BAPRAS believes that quicker recognition and treatment will result in more patient lives saved and less use of vital NHS resources.”

Key findings of the NCEPOD report:

- One third (34%; 184/544) of hospitals in the study had no formal sepsis protocol
- Of hospitals with a sepsis protocol, there was no formal training on general wards in the use of the protocol for medical staff in 21% (65/305) and nursing staff in 27% (86/314)
- Only 44% (90/244) of acute hospitals carried out any audit on the timely treatment of severe sepsis.


BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.

Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK. Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register; 

NCEPOD is an independent charitable organisation that reviews medical and surgical clinical practice and makes recommendations to improve the quality of the delivery of care. For further information about NCEPOD visit