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J is for… ‘Just Say Sepsis!’


J is for… ‘Just Say Sepsis!’

There are 150,000 cases of Sepsis annually in the UK, which lead to a staggering 44,000 deaths. This is a greater amount than bowel, breast and colon cancer combined.

Sepsis is also the biggest direct cause of death in UK pregnancies and affects about 10,000 children every year in the UK.

This life threatening condition occurs when your body’s response to an infection damages your own tissues and organs. This leads to shock, multiple organ failure and death especially if not recognised early and treated immediately.

Recently, the awareness, detection, and prevention of Sepsis has increasingly moved up the NHS agenda and in 2015/16 the management of Sepsis was made part of the Commission for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) goal.

Our Sepsis Collaborative is working on improving care for patients across the West of England as part of the Safer Care through Early Warning Scores project.

The West of England AHSN works to raise awareness of Sepsis across the West of England region through a series of masterclasses, as well as our Deteriorating Patient events.  In February 2016, Dr Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, spoke at our Sepsis masterclass. The masterclass was also attended by Susanna Morrish, a mother who lost her precious son Sam to Sepsis in 2010.

Through these events, we have helped create the foundations for some strong awareness work around sepsis by uniting clinicians, patients, and healthcare staff from a wide variety of areas.  The topics covered have included the detection and management of sepsis across a range of settings including paediatrics, maternity, and community care, however still more needs to be done. We continue to work towards improving sepsis care for patients across the West of England through our Safer Care through Early Warning Scores project.

The National Institute For Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines encourage clinicians to use an early warning score to assess people with potential sepsis in acute hospital settings and also encourage primary and community care workers, in cases where sepsis is suspected to make a definitive decision, as to whether a patient should be referred to hospital or make a definitive diagnosis. Consequently, the link between implementing the ‘Sepsis Six’ and using the Early Warning Score has been something that we have been exploring over the past year.

For further information regarding our work on Sepsis, please visit our Sepsis Collaborative and “Could it be sepsis?” pages.

For further information on sepsis in general, please follow The Sepsis Trust on Twitter.