People can be affected by Sepsis in many ways. Someone you know or a loved one may have had sepsis or you may even know someone who has died from sepsis. The time has come for the awareness of this awful illness to be raised, far too many people are dying each year. Sepsis was previously known as septicaemia or blood poisoning. Sepsis is the body's reaction to an infection and means your body attacks its own organs and tissues. Sepsis can move from being a mild condition to a serious one rapidly which can be frightening for both patients and their relatives. In the UK at least 150,000 people each year suffer from serious sepsis. Worldwide the figures are thought to be 3 in 1000 people get sepsis each year which means that 18 million people are affected.



Sepsis, or blood poisoning (septicaemia) is the third largest cause of death in the UK. It's more common than heart attacks, and kills more people than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined. But very few of us know about sepsis, even though there's a chance it will claim the life of someone we love.

The UK Sepsis Trust's mission is to do whatever it takes to pull Sepsis into the light. The awareness of Sepsis needs raising amongst healthcare professionals. They also need to be further educated.




Responds only to voice or pain / unresponsive

Acute confusional state

Systolic B.P ≤ 90 mmHg (or drop > 40 from normal)

Heart rate > 130 per minute

Respiratory rate ≥ 25 per minute

Needs oxygen to keep SpO2 ≥ 92%

Non-blanching rash, mottled / ashen / cyanotic

Not passed urine in last 18 h / UO

Lactate ≥ 2 mmol / l

Recent chemotherapy


Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.

The National Early Warning Score (NEWS) has been shown to identify patients at risk of deterioration. In the context of infection, a NEWS >5 should always prompt a screen for Sepsis, including an immediate check for any Red Flags.

It's vital that patients and their relatives are listened to. If a relative says 'he's never been this unwell before', he hasn't.


Think Sepsis is the patient:

Is triggering an early warning score

Looks ill (to a health professional or an unusually concerned relative)

Has any signs of infection




1. Give O2 to keep SATS above 94%

2. Take blood cultures

3. Give IV antibiotics

4. Give a fluid challenge

5. Measure lactate

6. Measure urine output




Dr Ron Daniels is a Consultant in Critical Care at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, England. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of Anaesthetists and Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine.

Ron is Chief Executive of the Global Sepsis Alliance, having been instrumental in bringing the Chairman's concept of the World Sepsis Declaration to fruition. He is Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Sepsis Trust, a registered charity with a predicted annual income for 2015/16 of £2.5 million, in which capacity he provides (in addition to public duties) clinical advice to NHS England, the Department of Health and to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. He has lobbied the United Kingdom Government, together with devolved governments in Scotland and Wales, over several years culminating in an announcement by the UK Secretary of State for Health in January 2015 of a resourced suite of measures to transform sepsis care across the UK. An earlier success had been encouraging the Health Minister for Scotland (now First Minister) to sign the World Sepsis Declaration as the first national endorsement.

Ron is also Founder and Programme Director of the education initiative, Survive Sepsis, and developed both the 'Sepsis Six' care bundle in use in 9 countries, and the clinical concept of 'Red Flag Sepsis'. Both are endorsed and recommended by the UK Royal Colleges and by NHS England. He has recently developed a suite of educational materials and clinical toolkits in support of the improvement, in collaboration with the Royal Colleges and NHS England, and, with over 40 national television appearances, is established as the 'go to' person for media coverage of sepsis stories in the UK.



SEPSIS symptoms in children

West Midlands Ambulance Service raising awareness

West Midlands showing SEPSIS support

East of England Ambulance Service raising awareness

June 2017 -  5 years of hard work

The World Health Organisation are now doing what they can to help raise Sepsis awareness

This is a brilliant way to raise awareness on the doors of lifts in Leicester Hospitals


Drew McDonald

If you follow the enclosed link you can read the story of Drew McDonald and his fight against the spread of Sepsis.