Mandatory sepsis training needed so healthcare staff can spot and treat faster

Sepsis kills five people every hour in the UK.

Sarah Jane
22 May 2019
Unwell patient sepsis

More training needed to spot and act on sepsis, say nurses.

Delegates at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual Congress in Liverpool alongside sepsis survivor Tom Ray will today call for better training for health care staff on recognising the signs of sepsis and understanding the need for prompt treatment.


They will call for mandatory sepsis training for all members of the nursing and midwifery professions and ask frontline nurses to take inspiration from their campaign to improve patient care.

According to the Sepsis Trust, sepsis kills five people every hour in the UK and affects 25,000 children each year.

The union will also call for a nationally standardised Paediatric Early Warning Sign Score (PEWS) mirroring the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) rolled out since last year.

Overstretched and unsupported

Speaking ahead of the speech and debate, Tom Ray – a quadruple amputee as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of sepsis, said: “Poor outcomes for patients are equally dramatic for staff, friends and family and they will continue to happen if nursing staff are overstretched, under trained and unsupported.


“My own experience has placed huge strain on myself, my family and my carers – and it should never have happened.

“Damage and even death from sepsis will continue until there is a commitment to educate all staff to give every patient the care and attention that is needed to spot and treat sepsis as fast as possible.”

Better public awareness

Rose Gallagher, professional lead for infection prevention and control at the RCN said: “Without the right number of nurses with the right training, we will struggle to identify and manage potential cases of sepsis – and we must have better public awareness to help people recognise the potential symptoms of sepsis and seek help quickly.

Fiona Smith, professional lead for children and young people at the RCN said: “Nurses have been calling for a national standardised PEWS system for children for over ten years now. Progress on delivering this has been too slow.”


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