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Country’s first dedicated sepsis team to be based in A&E


The country’s first dedicated emergency department-based sepsis team has been launched today at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The acute provider highlighted that it was “leading the way”, claiming no other NHS trust in the UK had a dedicated team for the recognition and management of sepsis within accident and emergency.

“They will then help make sure that patient gets the right care”

John Parker

The aim of the team is to strengthen the response in a timely manner to those patients who present to A&E with sepsis or who go on to deteriorate within the department, said the trust.

The team is made up of healthcare professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including intensive and critical care, emergency medicine and theatres.

Commenting on her new role, sepsis practitioner Clair Ripley said: “I started my nursing career working on the [hospital’s] infectious diseases unit before moving into critical care nursing.

“After working in critical care for four years I decided to join the sepsis team,” she said. “I’m excited to drive forward excellence in the care of septic and deteriorating patients in our ED and across the rest of our organisation.”

John Parker, the trust’s lead consultant, said the sepsis team had been set up from Monday 6 February with funding from the NHS Litigation Authority.

“On an average day there could be between five and 10 people coming into the emergency department with potentially life threatening sepsis,” he said.

“The team will support the emergency team to recognise and immediate treat anyone who we suspect has sepsis,” said Dr Parker.

“They will then help make sure that patient gets the right care from emergency surgery to intensive care support,” he said.

Dr Parker said the move was the latest in a wider project to raise the awareness of sepsis among staff and to improve the management of septic patients.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

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Leicester Royal Infirmary

The organisation had put in place the sepsis improvement project in response to a report published in 2013 by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman – titled Time to Act.

Dr Parker said: “The project started in early 2014 when we formed a ‘sepsis awareness’ group, bringing a variety of healthcare professionals together, led by myself and sepsis lead specialist nurse Sarah Odams.

Other innovations included the development of a bespoke Sepsis Adult Screening and Immediate Action pathway, which had been shared with staff across the trust’s hospitals, that was in line with the National Institute for National for Health and Care Excellence and the UK Sepsis Trust.

In addition, the trust had developed a range of staff training, which was primarily face-to-face but would shortly have an e-learning package available as well. Sepsis awareness training was now mandatory for its staff, said the trust.

It added that it carried out regular surveillance audits to make sure staff were compliant with the new care pathway, resulting in higher numbers of patients being given IV antibiotics and fluids within an hour as recommended by NHS England.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria, getting into your body. The infection may have started anywhere in a sufferer’s body, and may be only in one part of the body or it may be widespread. Sepsis can occur following chest or water infections, problems in the abdomen like burst ulcers, or simple skin injuries like cuts and bites.

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 recognised early and treated promptly.

What are the signs of Sepsis (adult)? Seek medical help urgently if you develop any one of the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • “I feel like I might die”
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

Readers' comments (2)

  • It is very good to see this getting the attention it deserves.

    However, where the coroners police avoid, and I do mean avoid, doing a toxicology report at post mortem, it will not appear on the death certificate. Also a "Prevent Future Deaths" finding at inquest will not happen.

    This simple investigation could aid providers, for example care homes, to up their standards considerably. This is working on the assumption that there is a desire to provide lawful, humane and cost effective care.

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  • I'd be very interested to find out what support the team have managed to get in terms of echo? Are they screening themselves?

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