Weston Area Health NHS Trust plays vital role in supporting improvements in early detection of sepsis

James Merrel in front of lifts displaying the sepsis reminder - could it be sepsisWithin eight months, staff at Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) dramatically improved care and treatment for patients with sepsis. This work has now been highlighted in a video produced by NHS England to promote the improvement of care for patients with sepsis nationally.

The early detection of sepsis is key to ensuring patients get the best treatment and sepsis screening tools are in place to support staff to identify those patients with early signs of sepsis.

Over a year ago, James Merrell, WAHT’s lead nurse for deteriorating patients and sepsis, noticed variation in the Trust’s rates of early detection and prompt treatment of sepsis. By introducing training and new sepsis alert practices, the Trust’s compliance with the sepsis screening tools rose from just 17% in September 2017 to 96% in January this year.

James said: “I knew that by improving our compliance rates we would be improving the care for our patients and that everyone would want to do that. By ensuring training and support is available for all staff we have been able to really embed a new culture, empowering staff, patients and visitors to ask could it be sepsis?”.

“We have worked hard to provide essential training to colleagues across many departments and specialties, to raise awareness of sepsis and the early screening tool. Our multidisciplinary approach, including education for physios and porters, has enabled us to identify cases of sepsis and treat them appropriately.”

The Trust worked with NHS England to produce a video to support the national implementation of initiatives across the NHS to improve sepsis care.

The video was released on World Sepsis Day last week – you can watch it at https://youtu.be/zWuWHbJei1M.

The Trust has also joined with Sepsis UK to set-up support groups for patients after they are discharged – the next Somerset Sepsis Support Group takes place on 19 September, 6.30pm-8.30pm at the Children’s Centre on Drove Road in Weston-super-Mare.

The support groups, where you can talk to previous patients, families and specialist sepsis nurses, are for anybody who has been affected by sepsis in any way. There's no need to book, just turn up.




Photograph: WAHT’s lead nurse for deteriorating patients and sepsis in front of hospital lift doors displaying sepsis awareness messages.



Notes to editors


  1. Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) serves a resident population of around 212,000 people in North Somerset with over 70% of people living in the four main towns of Weston, Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea. A further 3.3 million day trippers and 375,000 staying visitors increase this base population each year.
  2. WAHT provides clinical services from three sites. The General Hospital is located in the main town of Weston-super-Mare and there are two children’s centres providing community children’s services located in Weston and Clevedon.
  3. More information about Weston Area Health NHS Trust can be found at www.waht.nhs.uk.

    1. For more information about the national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of early detection and prompt treatment of sepsis, please visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/atlas_case_study/improvement-in-early-detection-and-prompt-treatment-of-sepsis-across-weston-area-health-nhs-trust/
    2. Further information about sepsis, including the sepsis support groups, can be found at https://sepsistrust.org.