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Harlow hospital highlights achievements in fight against sepsis to mark world awareness day

A group of doctors and nurses at The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust (PAHT) will be celebrating their achievements in battling a potentially life-threatening disease, during World Sepsis Day (13 September). Clinicians at the Harlow hospital will be supporting the international event to raise awareness of the illness, in the knowledge that their tireless efforts in the past two years have reaped impressive rewards in reducing sepsis among patients.

Image representing Harlow hospital highlights achievements in fight against sepsis to mark world awareness day

Committed to reducing the incidence of the illness, doctors and nurses have led a campaign in the trust focusing on enhanced training, increased resources and raised awareness. The wholehearted commitment across services including laboratory staff, pharmacists, managers and health care assistants, to address the issue, have contributed to a significant reduction in sepsis mortality by more than 20 per cent.

Sepsis arises when the body's response to an infection attacks its own tissues and organs. Sepsis can be fatal and is challenging to diagnose, as symptoms can be similar to those for flu, but if caught early it can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Swift diagnosis is therefore critical.

Among the range of innovative measures that have been developed in the trust were a special kit designed by one of the trust's biomedical scientists, Ewa Nkansah; a programme of roving educational ward rounds with the aid of a 'training tea trolley'; and a cohort of sepsis champions trained to recognise and act swiftly if a case arises. Staff also regularly undertake awareness raising events. One consultant even took up running to battle sepsis - Miss Helen Pardoe, the associate medical director for quality improvement, ran a gruelling 10k course to raise extra funds to support the programme.

A major key to the success, however, was a hard-fought bid for additional funding for the latest medical technique to detect sepsis, called a procalcitonin - or PCT - test.

The bid involved the trust participating in a competition promoted by
UCLH Partners, a healthcare innovation organisation, and presenting an innovative project on the use of procalcitonin as biochemical markers for diagnosis of early sepsis and as a guide in the correct use of antibiotics. Earlier this year the clinicians were thrilled to hear that they had won funding of £10,000 - beating 40 other hospital teams to win the award.

The additional acquisition of a blood analyser in the emergency department (ED) further aids early detection, particularly for people coming to ED at night or over the weekend.

As the annual World Sepsis Day approaches, the clinicians at PAHT are again planning an event to remind staff and the community to be aware of sepsis. They will be hosting a stand at the hospital, centrally located near pharmacy ( B 24) and are inviting everyone to come along. There will be advice and visual information, as well as an interactive activity which could win you a prize.

You are invited to come along to the stand at the hospital in Hamstel Road, Harlow, CM20 1QX, on Friday 13 September, between 10am and 2pm.

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