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Major project launched to tackle sepsis

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Major project launched to tackle sepsis

A major project is being launched in the North East tomorrow (Thursday 15 May) to help combat one of the UK’s biggest killers.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of only a handful of organisations across the country to be awarded funding by the Health Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK. Northumbria will use the £433,000 funding to tackle sepsis in its hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

More than 120 staff from a variety of specialties at Northumbria Healthcare will join representatives from patient and carer groups tomorrow to launch the two-year project.

Nationally, sepsis, which is also referred to as septicaemia or blood poisoning, accounts for 37,000 deaths every year – more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer put together.

Sepsis is the body’s reaction to an infection and means the body attacks its own organs and tissues.

If not spotted and treated quickly, sepsis can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. However, if it is caught early, patients can make a good recovery. Sepsis incidences have been increasing by an annual rate of between eight and 13 per cent over the last decade.

Dr Eliot Sykes, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care and business unit director at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We have identified sepsis as a key priority for the trust as we’ve seen incidences increase dramatically over the last ten years.

“This common, time critical, condition can strike at any time and, as clinicians, we have all encountered patients who have become struck down by the infection and witnessed the devastating effects it can have.

“Being awarded money from the Health Foundation is a fantastic opportunity to improve patient care for a common and potentially lethal condition.

“We have a good track record tackling issues like these and developing solutions which ultimately improve patient safety.”

Northumbria Healthcare’s work will focus on raising awareness among staff of the symptoms of sepsis and the treatment required in the crucial first hour.

Over the next two years, the project will be rolled out to all wards across the trust’s hospitals, covering all specialties.

Dr Ron Daniels, chair of UK Sepsis Trust, a charity set up to help the way the healthcare system deals with sepsis, said: “Reliable delivery of life-saving treatment to patients with sepsis demands new ways of working, with collaboration between clinical teams within and outside hospitals, heightened awareness among health professionals and the public, and robust measurement and data reporting.

“We are proud to be working alongside Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in this collaborative region-wide project to improve the delivery of sepsis care to its population. Together, we can ensure that we design and implement an improvement programme which can inform national strategy and be disseminated widely.”

Infections which can give rise to sepsis are common, and include lung (pneumonia), water, infections in wounds, bites or the joints, and problems such as burst ulcers.