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New sepsis awareness campaign for Scotland announced

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A new national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of sepsis has been announced by ministers in Scotland.

The campaign will seek to raise awareness amongst Scots of the “often-silent” symptoms of the condition, said the Scottish government.

“This is just the beginning of a long road ahead”

Craig Stobo

It will also “complement” the work already being done by Healthcare Improvement Scotland through its Scottish Patient Safety Programme to raise awareness both among clinicians.

The announcement marks a U-turn by the Scottish government. Three weeks ago it said that a sepsis awareness campaign was not currently “necessary” due to the apparent success of the patient safety programme in reducing mortality rates, BBC Scotland reported. 

Announcing the change of position today, the government said final details on the “scope and timings” of the marketing campaign would be available in “due course”.

However, it said that an initial proposal has identified channels to use throughout the campaign, including radio, press and outdoor advertising, which will reach more than 1.2 million people.

“While mortality rates have fallen by 21% since 2012, there’s still more to be done”

Shona Robison

The government will also use an existing arrangement with more than 1,200 our community pharmacies across Scotland to maximise the number of people who will see this campaign, it said.

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison made the announcement after a meeting with the sepsis awareness charity the Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT), which had been calling for a campaign.

She said: “The Scottish government has always been committed to raising awareness of the dangers of sepsis and this meeting was an important step in formalising our plans for a dedicated campaign.

“I was delighted to meet with FEAT and to discuss next steps,” she said. “It is clear from our meeting that a marketing and awareness campaign is a sensible next step.

Ms Robison noted that, while sepsis mortality rates had fallen in Scotland by 21% since 2012, there was “still more to be done”.


Shona Robison

Shona Robison

“I hope our campaign will play its part in equipping the public with a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of this awful condition,” she said.

Craig Stobo, from FEAT, welcomed the national sepsis awareness campaign for Scotland but said it was “just the beginning of a long road ahead”.

“We look forward to working further with the Scottish government to consolidate the recent, welcome fall in deaths from sepsis; with a focus on continuous improvement to ensure there is safe, consistent care for all sepsis patients across Scotland,” he added.

Earlier this month, the Westminster government and NHS England launched a new action plan to coincide with World Sepsis Day.

The plan included moves to boost training, advice and support in identifying and treating the condition for community nurses, healthcare assistants in care homes and health visitors.

It updated a previous national action plan to tackle sepsis, which was published in 2015 and that saw measures introduced across England, but particularly targeted at hospitals and GP surgeries.

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