Forth Valley Doctor Cycles From Larbert to London to Raise Awareness of Sepsis

Survivors and campaigners battling for better awareness of deadly sepsis – the illness claiming 37,000 lives every year1 – today embarked on an epic cycle from Scotland to London, calling for rapid diagnosis and better standards of care.

Sepsis is caused when the body’s immune system overreacts to infection. It is an unpredictable condition that can strike at any time, without warning, and kills more people in the UK than bowel, prostate and breast cancers combined. It is often called the ‘unknown killer’ as few people have heard of the term, despite its prevalence. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical to survival.

The cycle teams – who will journey from Scotland, Swansea, Essex, Lincolnshire, the West Midlands and Somerset – include healthcare professionals on the frontline against sepsis, survivors, and those who have lost loved ones to the disease. ‘Team C4S’ cyclists will provide photographs and commentary on their journey via the @UKSepsisTrust and @SepsisUK Twitter feed, using the hashtag #cycle4sepsis.

Sepsis strikes more than 8,480 people in Scotland alone every year, claiming 2,827 lives, the UK Sepsis Trust estimates – and the condition is frequently under-diagnosed. Faster diagnosis and treatment could prevent a third of these deaths and save NHS Scotland £17 million.

Dr Ron Daniels, Chair of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “This is the third year of the Cycle4Sepsis and it will be bigger and better than ever, thanks to our loyal supporters.’

‘We hope that the event will help patients and healthcare professionals find out more about how to detect and treat the disease in the early stages, and maximise the chances of recovery. This year, the government has driven up care standards, but more needs to be done to raise awareness levels throughout the UK, to save lives.”

Scotland cyclist Dr Dan Beckett, a Consultant Acute Physician at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, added: “My Uncle Dave narrowly survived sepsis, having been made aware of the condition as a result of the first #cycle4sepsis. I work in acute medicine, so I have witnessed how rapidly the illness can take hold. Sepsis claims 37,000 lives every year – including 1,000 children – and we need to make people better aware of the signs and symptoms to help people spot, treat and beat it.’

‘It is a long stretch, but we have been training to prepare us for the 500 mile cycle from Scotland to London, stopping off along the route in Edinburgh, Melrose, Carlisle, Skipton, Chesterfield, Leicester, Northampton, Watford and Uxbridge, to raise awareness and talk about our experiences.’

‘We will meet teams from four corners of the UK and although our journeys are long, they are nothing compared to the ordeal faced by bereaved families and sepsis survivors.”

The Cycle4Sepsis teams will convene on Tuesday 8th September to join Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at a reception hosted in the Houses of Parliament by Cheryl Gillan MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis.

Case studies from each region are available by calling Brydne Slattery on 0207 438 3052 or emailing