THOUSANDS of children have died or been left disabled because of a postcode lottery in sepsis care, nurses say.
They are victims of the lack of an NHS-wide early warning system in England and Wales to identify the infection, it is claimed.
Some hospitals have their own systems and Scotland introduced sepsis checks for children in 2017.
But nurses have been pleading for a nationwide scheme for more than a decade.
The Royal College of Nursing Congress in Liverpool will today demand a national system “as soon as possible” to prevent further deaths and harm.
Up to 4,000 under-fives die every year from the condition, which is caused by the body’s over-reaction to an infection.
She said: “Thousands of children have died or suffered disability while health organisations continue to drag their heels and can’t make a decision.
“More children will continue to die. Whose child will it be that pushes them over the edge?”
The RCN’s Fiona Smith said the fragmented NHS system was behind the lack of progress and health bosses needed to work together.
Pilots of early warning systems have been tested in some hospitals but have not yet been agreed or rolled out.
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An early warning system was launched last year to help doctors and nurses spot the signs of sepsis in adults.
But it cannot be used for children.
NHS England and Improvement said sepsis screening rates were up and a warning system for children was being developed.