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Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection. Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. There are around 123,000 cases of sepsis a year in England. Around 37,000 people die every year as a result of the condition. Anyone can develop sepsis after an injury or minor infection, although some people are more vulnerable. Sepsis is the biggest direct cause of death in UK pregnancies and affects about 10,000 children every year in the UK.

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Sepsis leads to shock, multiple organ failure and death especially if not recognized early and treated promptly. Sepsis is a priority area of work across the Academic Health Science Network.

People with suspected sepsis are assessed using a structured set of observations (NEWS2) to stratify risk of severe illness or death. Our safer care for the deteriorating patient project supports organisations across the West of England to recognise, respond to and communicate illness for unwell patients, including those with Sepsis.

To find out more about symptoms of sepsis in children under 5 visit NHS Choices.  For a support leaflet for parents.

Yeovil District Hospital and South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust have produced a really good short video to explain the sepsis 6 in 90 secs.




The UK Sepsis Trust has developed a range of clinical toolkits to support clinical areas in the improvement of sepsis care – click here for toolkits for out of hours, community services, ambulance, GPs, ED/AMU and Acute Hospital-inpatients.

The Health Innovation Network (HIN) has been working in partnership with NHS England and the ASK SNIFF Safety Netting Collaborative to produce the “Spotting the signs of Sepsis” film series now on NHS Choices.

The clinical content is based on the Public Health parental awareness campaign materials that were developed in collaboration with the UK Sepsis Trust and launched in December 2016.

For Emergency Department clinicians wanting more information on sepsis, please click here.

For Primary Care clinicians wanting more information on sepsis, please click here.

Latest Guidance


Sepsis – a simple, pragmatics, evidence-based approach to detection, collaboration and measurement.

By Dr Matt Inda-Kim, Consultant Acute Physician at Hampshire Hospitals, NHS(E) National Clinical Advisor on Sepsis, Co-Chair of the National AHSN Sepsis Cluster, Clinical Lead for Sepsis and Deterioration at Wessex Patient Safety Collaborative.

Learning and sharing

The West of England AHSN is part of the AHSN sepsis cluster, working on the Sepsis Action Plan published by NHS England in 2015.

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