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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 11 September 2017

RUH backs day of action to combat sepsis

World Sepsis Day is being marked at the Royal United Hospital in Bath on Wednesday 13 September with a number of events for patients and staff throughout the hospital.

Each year, 44,000 people die from sepsis in the UK – more deaths than from breast cancer, bowel cancer and heart attacks combined. Sepsis occurs when the body's response to an infection results in the vital systems in the body starting to fail, which, if not treated quickly, can lead to multiple system failure and death.

The RUH is a leader in the way it trains staff about sepsis awareness and treatment. Other acute hospital Trusts across the South West have adopted the RUH's training model.

Dr Lesley Jordan, Consultant Anaesthetist and Patient Safety Lead at the RUH, said: "We have already seen a large improvement in recognition and early instigation of treatment, with a 62 per cent improvement in appropriate patients receiving timely antibiotics as a result.

"We developed a ten-minute teaching presentation explaining how to diagnose sepsis and how to treat it within an hour. We then gave it to front-line staff and encouraged them to share that information with colleagues. It was incredibly successful – we trained over 700 clinical staff in just 60 days when we initially launched our campaign in 2014. New guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) were published in July 2016, so we re-launched the 60-day campaign and, again, successfully trained over 600 staff in 60 days. We spread our campaign to other acute trusts in the region in July 2016 which has resulted in over 3000 staff being trained in the new guidelines across the region."

"As early diagnosis is so important in successfully treating sepsis, raising staff and public awareness of the condition is of paramount importance. It is a time-critical condition but it can be challenging to diagnose as the signs can be similar to other common ailments, like flu. Early detection is important in securing the best outcome for patients."

NICE is promoting a message to all healthcare professionals to 'Think Sepsis' if someone presents with an infection or is unwell, in much the same way that heart attacks are ruled out when patients present with chest pain. Staff are encouraged to look for signs of sepsis immediately and rule it out and, if sepsis is present, to ensure treatment is started immediately.

As well as providing comprehensive training for staff, the RUH campaign also aims to increase public awareness of the six signs that could indicate the presence of sepsis. These are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Reduction in passing urine
  • Dizziness
  • Altered mental status with confusion
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness

Notes to Editor:

  • The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust provides acute treatment and care for a catchment population of around 500,000 people in Bath, and the surrounding towns and villages in North East Somerset and Western Wiltshire. The hospital provides healthcare to the population served by four Clinical Commissioning Groups: Bath & North East Somerset CCG, Wiltshire CCG, Somerset CCG and South Gloucestershire CCG.
  • The Trust has 759 beds and a comprehensive range of acute services including medicine and surgery, services for women and children, accident and emergency services, and diagnostic and clinical support services.
  • In 2015 The Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was acquired the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust. The RNHRD treats patients from across the country offering services in rheumatology, chronic pain and chronic fatigue syndrome/ME.
  • The RUH is changing - we have an exciting programme of redevelopment underway transforming our site and further improving the services we provide. The Trust is now working towards building a purpose built RNHRD and Therapies Centre and a new Dyson Cancer Centre. For more details visit:

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