Moray appeal results in Sepsis U-turn by Health Secretary

SCOTLAND’S HEALTH SECRETARY has announced that the Scottish Government will, after all, launch a public awareness campaign on the dangers of Sepsis.

The change of direction came in a reply to a Parliamentary Question from Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead, who posed the question following an Editorial on insideMORAY outlining the personal experience of the Editor and his wife.

Mr Lochhead posed the question to the Scottish Government asking “….what steps it is taking to (a) raise public awareness of sepsis and (b) ensure that GPs and other medical professionals receive the necessary training to identify the symptoms of sepsis.”

In her response Shona Robison said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting and promoting work around public awareness of sepsis.

“The Scottish Government currently works closely with NHS Scotland and the Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT), supporting the Sock it to Sepsis campaign and promoting and participating in World Sepsis Day which has done much to publicise the danger presented by sepsis.”

The minister also addressed a major issue brought up in the insideMORAY editorial, that medical professionals should be picking up the signs of Sepsis quickly as the condition has the ability to cause irretrievable damage.

Richard Lochhead – posed question to parliament after reading our Editorial.

Announcing the new Scotland-wide awareness campaign on the condition, the Health Secretary revealed she had held talks with the awareness charity Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT).

She said: “The Scottish Government has always been committed to raising awareness of the dangers of Sepsis and this meeting was an important step in formalising our plans for a dedicated campaign.

“I was delighted to meet with FEAT and to discuss next steps. It is clear from our meeting that a marketing and awareness campaign is a sensible next step.

“While mortality rates have fallen by 21% since 2012, there’s still more to be done. I hope our campaign will play its part in equipping the public with a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of this awful condition.”

Craig Stobo from FEAT added: “FEAT welcomes today’s meeting and the announcement by the Health Secretary of the national sepsis awareness campaign for Scotland. This will help raise people’s awareness of this major public health issue, save lives and improve patients’ outcomes.

“This is just the beginning of a long road ahead. We look forward to working further with the Scottish Government to consolidate the recent, welcome fall in deaths from sepsis; with a focus on continuous improvement to ensure there is safe, consistent care for all sepsis patients across Scotland.”

Editor Comments

The very personal Editorial I wrote on World Sepsis Day was the most difficult I had ever written – and yet it was, I felt, the most important.

The absolute terror I felt when it very much looked like I may lose my wife to this awful condition had burned at both of us for a long time after she recovered.  That she did so was entirely thanks to the wonderful treatment she received at Dr Gray’s Hospital, but it may not have been so serious had our local surgery spotted the tell-tale signs of Sepsis that existed for over a week.

Then having written that Editorial, I learned of others who were not so lucky. Several readers cited cases of loved ones having to battle the condition, and it broke my heart to read of at least one, just days before, who had not survived.

My wife and I are grateful to Richard Lochhead MSP for taking note of my comments and putting them to the Health Secretary. Perhaps there will now be much more awareness of Sepsis, not only among the general public but with the medical professionals who are our first line of defence against this terrible condition.