Doctors Cycle to Raise Awareness of Sepsis

To kick start the ‘Cycle for Sepsis’ campaign, two doctors left from Holyrood Parliament to cycle to Westminster, London. The six-day road trip will culminate in a parliamentary event at Westminster on 4 September, organised by the UK Sepsis Trust.

This event precedes World Sepsis Day on the 13  September, when  healthcare organisations around the world work together to raise awareness of  this life-threatening condition that kills around 37,000 people every year in the UK – more than lung, bowel or breast cancer. Over the course of their road trip – equating to 82 deaths for every mile cycled – social media will be used to publicly highlight a particular key symptom each day using the hashtag #cycleforsepsis.

The cyclists –  Dr Dan Beckett (NHS Forth Valley) and his partner Dr Claire Gordon (NHS Lothian), both consultants in Acute Medicine – are active campaigners for better diagnosis and care for people who develop sepsis. Both provide active support to the work of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme. Speaking of the campaign, Dr Beckett said:

 “We’re cycling from the Scottish Parliament to Westminster in order to help raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis amongst the general public. Also, along with colleagues from England and Wales, we’ll be attending an important parliamentary event which has been organised by the UK Sepsis Trust to help improve the quality of sepsis care across the UK.

“Sepsis kills around 37,000 people every year in the UK, and equates to 82 deaths for every mile of our cycle journey. Scotland already has a national programme for improving the outcomes from sepsis and is therefore ahead of the field in the early diagnosis and reliable delivery of care for the many thousands of people affected by this life threatening condition.

“As clinicians working in acute medicine, we see first hand the devastating impact sepsis can have on patients and their families, and we want to do everything we can to prevent sepsis, and to ensure that anyone who develops sepsis receives the best possible care.”

Dr Denise Coia, Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the organisation responsible for managing and developing the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP), said:

 “The public can help our work to improve diagnosis and outcomes for sepsis patients by being aware of the symptoms of sepsis. To help achieve this, we’ll be highlighting one symptom every day of the cyclists’ journey via social media, on Twitter @sepsis_HIS @sepsisUK and using the hashtag #cycleforsepsis.”

The campaign utilises a mnemonic devised by the UK Sepsis Trust to help the public identify some key symptoms of sepsis:

Slurred speech
Extremely painful muscles
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
feel like I might die”
Skin mottled or discoloured

If any of these symptoms develop during the course of an infection, members of the public are advised to seek urgent medical attention.