Receptionist will be able to see patients with sepsis

Dr Tim Dalton
Dr Tim Dalton

Waiting rooms at GP practices in the borough are being rearranged in a bid to spot patients with sepsis.

Efforts are being made to raise awareness of the potentially fatal condition in people attending surgeries.

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It is hoped that changing the lay-outs will mean receptionists can always see patients and notice when someone might be deteriorating.

Staff are also being taught to listen differently to what patients tell them, looking for words that might mean the patient has symptoms of sepsis.

It is part of an initiative in the borough to encourage health and social care workers, along with the public, to question whether someone could have sepsis.

The Wigan Borough CCG sepsis awareness programme was launched on World Sepsis Day – September 13 – in a bid to put a stop to sepsis.

The condition, which causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive as it tries to fight infection, kills 44,000 people in the UK each year and the numbers are rising.

But sepsis is treatable, with the chances of a patient’s survival increasing significantly if treatment is given within an hour of diagnosis. Already, 150 members of staff from 38 GP practices in the borough have taken part in the awareness programme.

The UK Sepsis Trust supported the development of the training, and it has been noticed at Greater Manchester and national level by the Department of Health and Public Health England.

Dr Tim Dalton, a GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “Sepsis is very serious, but it can be incredibly hard to spot and diagnose.

“The sepsis training sessions help staff from GP practices to recognise the signs more quickly and to always question whether something might be sepsis.

“It is fantastic that so many GP practices are embracing this and helping us to save lives by spotting sepsis.”

It is an hour-long interactive and emotive learning event, delivered by the CCG’s sepsis lead, which includes patient stories, activities, discussions and ideas for GP practices to implement.

A sepsis awareness pack with tools and resources is given to everyone to share with colleagues and patients.

The session focuses on raising awareness of the importance of early recognition in patients attending GP practices.

Staff are encouraged to become “sepsis spotters” and think “could it be sepsis?” so they know when a patient needs further tests and diagnosis.

The training focuses on non-GP staff, such as receptionists, with the changes to waiting rooms among the ideas covered.

The programme uses nationally-recognised evidence, guidance, assessment tools and information from the UK Sepsis Trust, NICE, Public Health England and the Royal College of General Practitioners.