“For a condition that takes 44,000 lives every year, it is astonishing how few people know what it is. That’s one of the reasons we want to help highlight the dangers of SEPSIS to the public.”
These are the words of West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, at the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness about Sepsis. Each of the 47 new ambulances entering service with WMAS this year will carry information about the condition.
Unveiling the vehicles was Melissa Mead, who has campaigned to raise awareness of the condition after her one-year-old son William tragically died after a range of health providers failed to spot the condition. She was accompanied byDr Ron Daniels, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust.
Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. If not spotted and treated quickly, it can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. The numbers are staggering – every year in the UK, 250,000 people are affected by sepsis; 44,000 people die and 60,000 suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects. It’s more common than heart attacks and kills more people than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined!
Last year new guidelines on sepsis were issued to the NHS which were developed by the UK Sepsis Trust in partnership with NHS England, the Department of Health and Public Health England.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is the first Trust to put the messaging on it’s vehicles. Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said:
“I am delighted that Melissa and Dr Daniels have come along to help us unveil these posters. Our staff know better than most just how important it is to recognise the condition and to act quickly to help save lives.
“We have issued guidance to all of our frontline staff on what to look out for, based on the work of the charity and its research. In many respects putting this poster on the side of our ambulances is one way that we can say ‘thank you’ for their help.
“If it saves even one life then it has been worth it, but because these vehicles will be based across the West Midlands we hope as many people as possible will see the information and take note of the warning signs, so that many more lives can be saved.
“We want everyone to know the phrase: ‘Just ask; could it be sepsis? It’s a simple question but it could save a life.’”
Melissa Mead, Ambassador for the UK Sepsis Trust, added: “It has been a pleasure from start to finish to collaborate with WMAS. Their passion and determination to help raise awareness of sepsis has been unwavering. This messaging will benefit all of those who read it, from the young to the old. There is no greater platform.”
Dr Ron Daniels, said: “We’re delighted that West Midlands Ambulance Service is joining the fight against sepsis and working with the UK Sepsis Trust to raise much-needed awareness among healthcare professionals and the public. As a West Midlands-based charity, it’s a privilege to be collaborating with our local ambulance service, and we hope ambulance fleets all over the UK will continue to follow suit.
“Engaging Trusts across the country will help to provide consistent sepsis care throughout the NHS. We need clinicians and members of the public everywhere to Just Ask: could it be sepsis?”