Patients who appear to be suffering from sepsis must be treated within one hour, according to health watchdog NICE.
The new draft guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence advise that GPs, paramedics and A&E staff should check patients with the condition for certain signs to determine whether their symptoms are life-threatening.
Sepsis is a condition that arises when the body's response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.
Common symptoms include fever, increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, and confusion.
It’s recommended that anyone identified as high risk should be reviewed immediately by senior hospital staff, and be treated with antibiotics and intravenous (IV) fluid treatment within one hour.
NICE also suggested that in cases where hospital was more than 60 minutes away, antibiotics could be given in GP practices or by ambulance staff.
A 2015 report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death found that 40 per cent of people admitted to A&E with sepsis did not have a timely review by a senior clinician, while in 29 per cent of cases there was a delay in administering antibiotics.
NICE deputy chief executive Professor Gillian Leng commented: “Severe symptoms can develop in sepsis very quickly. If high-risk patients are not identified and treated promptly, people can be left with debilitating problems. In the worst cases, they may die."