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I Told You So!

In a previous blog https://www.lblaw.co.uk/blog/new-changes-for-those-injured-in-road-traffic-accidents I wrote about a new system which was being introduced which significantly reduced the compensation that those injured in road traffic accidents would receive. It also altered the rules regarding the recovery of legal costs, such that injured people would recover nothing from the insurers in respect of the cost of legal advice, unless their claim was worth more than £5,000.00.

The government’s justification for this, was that the new system was designed in a very straightforward way, so that those who were unfortunate enough to be injured would be able to pursue the claim themselves without legal advice. I explained how the guide which advised people how to do this was 64 pages long and fairly complex, and I said that I thought it was completely unrealistic to expect people to deal with such claims on their own.

On 21 October the Ministry of Justice released statistics regarding the claims which were submitted during the first three months of the new system, which are available here. The most striking statistic is that out of the 45,718 claims submitted, 41,387 were done so by legal representatives on behalf of the injured person and only 4,331 (less than 9.5%) were submitted by the injured person themselves.

This means the system, whose principal objective was said to enable injured people to use it themselves, has failed in this aim. This means that more than 90% of those unfortunate enough to have been injured are now faced with the double insult of receiving less compensation than they would have done previously, and having to make a greater contribution to their legal costs out of this. The only winners in this story, as is often the case when changes to personal injury claims are made, are the insurers.

Delays in Cancer Referrals

Cancer is defined by the NHS as “a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.” It is because of this uncontrollable growth and reproduction of cells that early detection and commencement of treatment for cancer have long been considered the most effective method of improving outcomes for patients. Screening services have therefore been developed to try to detect cancers at their earliest stages, eg, breast and prostate cancer, but unfortunately this is not available for all cancers. For many patients, the path to being diagnosed begins when they attend their GP with worrying symptoms, such as unplanned weight loss, tiredness or unexplained bleeding.

GPs follow clinical guidelines to determine whether to refer the patient for specialist secondary opinion. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that for urgent referrals, the wait to see secondary healthcare should be within two weeks of the GP seeing the patient, or 48 hours if very urgent. It is obvious why such guidance is in place - the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of successfully treating it.

In an ideal world, every patient who presented to their GP with potential cancer symptoms would immediately be referred within the recommended two week timeline, if not before. They would receive a rapid diagnosis and quickly begin receiving appropriate treatment.

Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world, but nevertheless it is worrying to read that patients attending their GPs with concerns about such symptoms are not being referred for urgent investigations quickly enough.

The Independent recently reported on research funded by Cancer Research UK, which found that six out of 10 patients in England were not being referred within the two-week recommended period. The impact of delays in diagnosis on prognosis was alarming - a four-week delay alone increased the risk of death by 10%. It was appreciated by the authors that GPs are in a difficult position, conscious of being too cautious and over-referring patients, which could cause oncological services to become overwhelmed. However, this caution should not prevent a necessary and mandatory referral.

GPs are also challenged by patients with vague or very complex symptoms not typical of cancer, or those with pre-existing illnesses, as well as delays caused as GPs await diagnostic test results.

Delays in diagnosis of cancer cannot all be blamed upon GPs or any other healthcare provider. However, the NHS in England is reported to have failed to meet its target of diagnosing and treating 85% of cancer patients within two months, and has not met this target since 2015. Underfunding and difficulties recruiting and retaining trained staff across the NHS are compounding the issue.

This will undoubtedly worsen significantly as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which patients have been reluctant or unable to attend their GP surgeries, with telephone and remote appointments becoming the norm. Although remote appointments may be more convenient for GPs to see patients, there is still the need to take a full and proper history to assess if a referral is required and ensure proper safety netting advice is given.

The results of the research need careful consideration to ensure that systems are in place going forwards to support both patients and GPs, and to ensure that those that need specialist services are referred as swiftly as possible.

Tune in to our podcast episode here in which we discuss delays in diagnosis of cancer.

For advice or more information, please contact our clinical negligence team.

No Time to Kill (or Get Serious Injuries)

When watching the new Bond film, I found myself wondering whether, as a society, we have any understanding of how vulnerable the human body is. Hollywood certainly doesn’t understand how little force is needed to break a bone. And yes, in case you are wondering, this is a principal reason why I am not a fun person to watch action films with. I will often turn to my fellow audience member after an exhilarating action scene and point out, ‘by the way despite the film pretending the protagonist is fine, they actually have a serious spinal injury and probably a head injury too’. One of my pet peeves is when films treat a knock-out punch as an off-switch, which results in the victim waking up in the next scene with no ill effects, when actually a loss of consciousness following head trauma is indicative of a traumatic brain injury.

Generally speaking humans struggle to accurately assess risks and can underestimate how dangerous common place or everyday activities are. For instance, more people suffer anxiety about flying than driving despite your statistical chance of being in an accident being much higher when travelling in a motor vehicle. I do wonder whether the portrayal of Bond (or other action stars) shrugging off bullet wounds, falling 30 feet plus, or their car flipping over and smashing into walls, adds to how poor our perception is of risk. Do we feel on a subconscious level that if we fell off that ladder, we wouldn’t be too badly hurt? Or in the words of Captain America, that if we died, we would be able to ‘walk it off’.

There is also often a lack of portrayal in most action-heavy films of how traumatising these events would be. Most people who are a victim in an accident or witness an accident are not able to respond with funny quips or puns, but instead find these difficult experiences which take time, and often therapy, to process. Even when films do hint that a character is suffering from PTSD, this is normally disregarded within 20 minutes or so.

Personally I would be keen for films to more realistically portray the consequences of an action scene. I think it would much more exciting to watch a chase scene where if the car crashed into another car, the protagonist would actually be injured rather than just suffering the obligatory limp which is forgotten by the time they cut to the next scene. It would at least save my audience members from me continually pointing out, ‘yeah they just died’.

Click here for The Legal Lounge podcast in which Dawn and I discuss personal injury claims, including those relating to spinal injuries.

For more information or advice, please contact our specialist personal injury team.

Helping the Armed Forces Community - the Time is Now!

The armed forces community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, health as that received by any other UK citizen in the area they live. Those injured in service, whether physically or mentally, should be cared for in a way, which reflects the nation’s moral obligation to them whilst respecting the individual’s wishes. For those with concerns about their mental health, where symptoms may not present for some time after leaving service, they should be able to access care with health professionals who have an understanding of armed forces culture. Sadly, sometimes, this is not the case and there are a number of ex service personnel who have both mental and physical problems as a consequence of their military service. The government has addressed this by means of the Armed Forces Covenant, which describes how public services broadly should support current serving personnel, military veterans and their families.

The government has a particular responsibility of care towards members of the armed forces. This includes responsibility to maintain an organisation which treats every individual fairly, with dignity and respect. As part of the government’s work to make the UK the best place in the world to be a member of the armed forces, the Minister for Defence, Leo Docherty’s statement made on 22 September 2021 says that he is “committed to ensuring that all veterans who may be struggling are able to access dedicated support”. This statement was made in relation to the increasing numbers of veterans who tragically take their own lives. Read more here.

Mr Docherty continues saying that “The UK government is working to develop a new method for recording and reporting cases of suicide within the veteran community.” This new method identifies statistics of veterans who die by suicide each year in England and Wales. This new work will ensure that the government is meeting its responsibility of care towards the members of the armed forces and to better understand the tragic issue of suicide to implement “future policy and interventions in support of the veteran community”.

While the government undertakes its new method, it is also best to know what help is out there. We as a community can assist by signposting members of the armed forces to various support organisations.

If you know someone who is a member of the armed forces, within your family, friends or acquaintances who are dealing with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression, there are many organisations out there that provide specialist treatment and support from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues related to their military service. Here are some notable organisations we have referred our armed forces clients to:

In this week's podcast episode we welcome Andrew Preston, a veteran who has to live with PTSD, who shares his story with Louise Howard - listen here.

If you are worried about a member of the armed forces, try to get them to talk to you. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously can be more helpful. Reaching out to someone could help them know that someone cares, that they are valued, and help them access the support they need. Everyone copes and reacts in their own way, and the time to give them support is now. Not next month, next week or tomorrow, but NOW.

Lung Cancer - Types, Signs, Stages, Prognosis, Treatment

Lung cancer affects around 47,800 people in the UK every year. It is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. It tends to affect older people, with around 45% of those diagnosed in the UK aged 75 and older.

There are two main types: non-small cell and small cell.

Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

This is the most common and makes up more than 87% of cases. The three types of non-small cell lung cancers are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or large-cell carcinoma.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Sometimes known as “oat cell cancer” due to its appearance under a microscope, this type of lung cancer is less common than non-small cell and it usually spreads faster to other parts of the body. It is usually caused by smoking.

Since this cancer grows quickly, it tends to respond well to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Unfortunately, there is a greater risk of recurrence than with non-small cell lung cancer, usually within one to two years. However, the recurrence of small cell lung cancer after five years of disease-free survival is very rare.

Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages of lung cancer, there are usually no signs or symptoms, but as the cancer progresses many people eventually develop symptoms including:

  • a persistent cough
  • coughing up blood
  • persistent breathlessness
  • unexplained tiredness and weight loss
  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

Many of the above symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions but finding lung cancer early can mean that it is easier to treat so it is important to visit your GP if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Stages and Grades

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. The grade of a cancer is based on how the cells look under a microscope. This can indicate how quickly or slowly the cancer might grow and whether it is likely to spread.

Cancer is usually staged using the TNM (Tumour, Node, Metastasis) system to create a number staging system, with stages 1 to 4. Stage 4 is advanced lung cancer where the cancer has spread. For small cell lung cancer, there is also a simplified staging system called limited and extensive stage. For more information on how lung cancer, or indeed any cancer, is staged you can visit Cancer Research UK.

Cancer cells are graded 1 to 4 with 1 tending to be slow growing and less likely to spread than grades 3 and 4 where the cells look very abnormal and tend to grow quickly and are more likely to spread. These are also called poorly differentiated or high grade.

Prognosis

As lung cancer does not usually cause noticeable symptoms until it has spread through the lungs or into other parts of the body, the outlook is not as good as many other types of cancer. However, survival depends on many factors including the spread of the cancer at diagnosis.

There are no UK-wide statistics available for survival of different stages of lung cancer or individual treatments. The figures below are for survival by stage in England for people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017.

Stage 1 - More than 55 out of 100 people (more than 55%) will survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 2 - Around 35 out of 100 people (around 35%) will survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 3 - Almost 15 out of 100 people (almost 15%) will survive their cancer for five years or more after diagnosis.

Stage 4 - Almost 5 out of 100 people (almost 5%) will survive their cancer for five years or more after they are diagnosed.

Treatment

How lung cancer is treated will also depend on a number of factors including the type of lung cancer, where it is, its size, whether it has spread and a person’s general health.

Researchers around the world are always searching for improved treatments for lung cancer. One of those of particular note is a tablet called sotorasib, which will soon be offered on the NHS to eligible lung cancer patients in England following approval by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It will be used to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancer with KRAS G12C mutation.

This mutation is present in a quarter of all tumours and is referred to as the “Death Star” because of its spherical appearance and impenetrable nature. The sotorasib tablet attaches with the KRAS G12C mutation and inactivates it, thereby hindering cell division and cancer growth. It is expected that nearly 600 NHS patients in England will benefit from the treatment annually.

Here at Lanyon Bowdler we understand the difficulty our clients have in coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis, particularly when there are questions about the standard of care they have received. If you consider that your care has been affected by a delay in diagnosis, it is important to consider all the options available to you. Our team is happy to discuss the matter with you and guide you through the process sensitively.

What’s next for NHS Maternity Services?

On 11 August 2021, the Independent held a virtual event to discuss what improvements need to be made to NHS maternity services. ‘NHS maternity scandal: Inside a crisis’ was attended by two of our clinical negligence solicitors, given the large amount of maternity claims Lanyon Bowdler is pursuing against The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust spanning across a number of years.

The speakers included midwife and chair of the independent investigation into the maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Donna Ockenden, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Eddie Morris, patient safety campaigner and bereaved father, James Titcombe, and the Independent’s, Shaun Lintern.

Donna Ockenden provided an update of her review, noting the review closed to new applications in July 2020 with a total of 1,862 families involved. Donna explained that her interim Emerging Findings Report was released in December 2020. This interim report did not contain any recommendations, but rather contained ‘must do’ immediate actions written by real doctors and midwives who are still working within the NHS. Donna likened the interim report to a call to action. Important areas, which were highlighted in the Emerging Findings Report, included the lack of listening to families, the lack of risk assessment, issues with obtaining informed consent, lack of training for staff and a lack of collaboration between staff.

James Titcombe was a member of the panel. He is a patient safety specialist following the death of his 9 day old son, Joshua, at Furness General Hospital. Joshua’s death sparked the Morecambe Bay maternity investigation. James explained that the most shocking factor for him involving the events with his son was how their family was treated after Joshua’s death. He explained there was an unkindness towards families. James felt the overzealous pursuit for vaginal birth had gone too far and the campaign for having a natural birth was unhelpful. James also recalled the lack of communication between the staff with the doctors and nurses not talking to each other. James explained that people thought the Morecambe Bay incident was an isolated issue rather than there being issues affecting maternity units across the country. He believes that systemic change is needed in every maternity unit.

Dr Eddie Morris considers that the resources put into maternity units have not kept up with rapid pace of change of expectant mothers in the UK. Dr Morris explained that there are increased risks for pregnant women with raised BMIs. Those women with raised BMIs risk developing gestational diabetes, having larger babies and there is an increased risk of needing intervention during labour. Dr Morris noted that during COVID maternity staff were being redeployed, which was inappropriate given that pregnant women were continuing to give birth to babies.

Donna Ockenden considers one of the major issues is that maternity units are not treated in the same way as accident and emergency units. Donna believes that maternity units should be treated as women’s accident and emergency units as the NHS staff do not know who is going to enter the front door on a day-to-day basis and must be responsive.

The NHS maternity services were granted £96 million in funding this year. Donna believes that with this funding maternity services have made some progress and more staff have been recruited. However, issues remain with the retention and wellbeing of staff. The retention of staff has to be an ongoing focus for the NHS.

Although the UK is considered one of the safest places to give birth, if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog or indeed any wider issues relating to maternity care, please get in touch with our team, who are experienced in dealing with claims of this sensitive nature and will guide you at every stage.

SSP Rebate Scheme to Close

The COVID-19 SSP Rebate Scheme will close with effect from 30 September 2021.

This scheme has allowed employers with fewer than 250 employees (as of 28 February 2020) to apply to HMRC for reimbursement of up to two weeks’ statutory sick pay (SSP) per eligible employee for absences taken due to COVID-19. After 30 September, the funding of SSP will revert back to being met entirely by the employer: any absences after that date, which are related to COVID-19, will not be eligible for rebate.

It is also worth noting that employers will not be able to make a claim for any eligible SSP costs incurred up to and including 30 September after the earlier of (i) 31 December 2021 or (ii) one year after the last qualifying day in the period of incapacity for work to which the SSP costs relate.

For the government’s updated guidance to employers for claiming under the scheme, click here.

If you would like any advice in relation to the above changes, please contact a member of our employment team to arrange an appointment.

COVID-19 and the Impact on Cancer Diagnoses

It is no secret that the last 18 months have been difficult for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting our global community and specifically the UK enduring numerous lockdowns from March 2020.

The COVID-19 outbreak has greatly affected the UK’s economy, education, and travel industry but specifically it has put immense pressure onto our healthcare services. The NHS has and continues to go above and beyond to care for patients during these difficult times and remains dedicated and focused, which we should continue to recognise. However, with the rise of COVID-19 patients in hospitals the NHS has been chronically understaffed and overworked, which has unfortunately caused a huge impact on cancer diagnosis, referrals, and treatment.

As of June 2020, MacMillan Cancer Support estimates that nearly 50,000 cancer diagnoses have been missed during the COVID-19 outbreak with 650,000 cancer patients suffering disruption or delays in their treatment, a number which is still rising today with an ever-increasing backlog of cancer treatments. MacMillan Cancer Support is referring to those suffering as the forgotten ‘C’ and is calling on the government to acknowledge the scale of the cancer backlog and commit the additional resources required to tackle it.

Early diagnosis is critical to increasing the chances of survival and treatment is more likely to be successful before the cancer has had chance to spread. Below are some examples of how an early diagnosis can really make a difference.

Early Diagnosis of Bowel Cancer

In England, more than nine in 10 bowel cancer patients survive the disease for five years or more, if diagnosed at the earliest stage.

Early Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

Almost all women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years.

Early Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

More than nine in 10 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at its earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years. This falls to just over one in 10 women when ovarian cancer is diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Almost nine in 10 lung cancer patients will survive their disease for at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage. This falls to around one in five people when lung cancer is diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

Cancer Research UK conducted a survey of cancer patients early in the pandemic (1 – 28 May 2020) to understand their perspectives on the initial impact COVID-19 was having on their testing, treatment and care. Some key findings include:

  • Around one in three (34%) cancer patients reported that their testing had been impacted since the start of the pandemic.

  • Almost one in three (29%) cancer patients reported that their treatment had been impacted since the start of the pandemic.

  • Cancer patients who experienced delays and cancellations reported waiting on average 13.4 weeks for tests and 13.5 weeks for treatment.

In January 2019 the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) was published and set out stretching ambitions and commitment to improve cancer outcomes and services in England over the next ten years. Their key ambitions state that by 2028, 55,000 more people each year will survive their cancer for five years or more and 75% of people with cancer will be diagnosed at an early stage (stage one or two). There is hope for our future, but this does not take away the significant delays in treatment and diagnoses that patients faced in 2020/2021.

Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors support clients daily in pursing clinical negligence claims relating to delayed diagnosis and/or treatment, some of which are sadly fatal claims. If you would like to investigate the care you or a loved one received, please feel free to contact a member of our clinical negligence team. In our latest podcast episode, Beth Heath and Katherine Jones from our clinical negligence team talk about the delay in diagnosis of cancer, using fictitious, but typical cases to illustrate the challenges people are facing.

For additional information from MacMillan Cancer Support regarding their findings of missed cancer diagnoses, please click here.

To receive more information about early diagnosis, visit Be Clear on Cancer - a campaign that aims to improve early diagnosis of cancer by raising public awareness of signs and/or symptoms of cancer, and to encourage people to see their GP without delay.

Drug Driving Convictions under Review Because of Faulty Lab Tests

It has recently come to light that, because of faulty lab tests, hundreds of drug driving convictions may now need to be reviewed.

In December 2020, Synlab Laboratory Services Limited discovered that there were issues with the way in which it analysed drug driving samples.

As a result, over 800 tests have now been deemed unreliable. For some this will mean the investigation against them will not continue.

However, for hundreds more, they may have already been convicted by the courts based upon this unreliable evidence.

The consequences of such a conviction will have resulted in a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months.

Fallout from the driving disqualification, may have led to people losing their employment, accommodation and, maybe even relationships.

For many, they may not have been legally represented in court and they will now need assistance in lodging appeals to the crown court out of time to overturn unsafe convictions.

Please contact our crime team for more information.

Temporary Right to Work Checks Extended to 5 April 2022

It is unlawful to employ someone who does not have the right to reside and work in the UK or who is working in breach of their conditions of stay. Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working and must carry out certain right to work checks on all prospective employees before their employment starts (and should undertake follow up checks for current employees with time-limited permission to live and work in the UK).

As we have previously reported, on 30 March 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government made the following temporary changes to the right to work checks to simplify the process for employers:

  • Checks can be carried out via video call (rather than in person).
  • Job applicants and existing workers can submit scanned copies or photographs of identity documents for checks (instead of providing original documents).

The end date for these adjusted checks was originally set as 16 May 2021, and this was then put back to 21 June, and then to 31 August. However, the government announced on 26 August that the end date has been deferred again, to 5 April 2022.

The government has said that it made this decision following positive feedback about the ability to conduct checks remotely, and that it intends to introduce a new digital solution to include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens, that will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely, but with enhanced security.

Click here for the full government guidance or if you would like to discuss this further, contact a member of Lanyon Bowdler’s employment team.

Footpath Diversion Means No Need to ‘Moooove’

I am a specialist agricultural associate solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler, having joined at the start of the year. I have specialised in agricultural property matters since I qualified as a solicitor in 2007, having grown up on a farm in Oxfordshire.

I was recently contacted by an NFU member with a view to diverting a footpath in Shropshire. The footpath was in an unfortunate location, immediately adjacent to a large cattle shed and also very close to a site, behind which was earmarked for an additional cattle shed of the same size.

It was necessary for the two sheds to be parallel to maximise the benefit. There had also been instances of members of the public disturbing the cattle. The NFU member considered that it would be better for the footpath to be diverted, both from a health and safety perspective for members of the public using the footpath, but also, and a crucial point for the NFU member, for the long term sustainability of the farm (where the proposed development might otherwise have been stifled by the location of the footpath).

I worked with the NFU member and submitted the application to ensure that the footpath was diverted away from the farm buildings and the main yard. I then liaised with the council’s public rights of way team and ensured that the footpath was diverted under 119 of the Highways Act 1980 and also under section 53A (2) of the Wildlife Countryside Act 1981.

I achieved a successful result in a short time, and was granted the exact diversion modification requested within the application. The NFU member was delighted and the additional barn is now in place, looking fabulous, with lots of happy farmyard residents!

I attained Fellowship of the Agricultural Law Association in 2009 and have experience in a wide variety of agricultural property transactions, including land sales and purchases.

I also act for lenders, advising on partnership agreements, rights of way issues, adverse possession matters, sports and recreational sales, deeds of easement, option and overage agreements, contract farming agreements and share farming agreements.

I have been listed within the agricultural sections of Chambers UK since 2015 and The Legal 500 publication since 2018 (the two main legal ‘go to’ directories).

For more information about this or any other agricultural matter, please contact our agricultural team.

Could it be Sepsis?

A warning has been issued to NHS trusts across the country to ensure that their sepsis screening tools are up to date. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has recently highlighted the danger of using out of date triage tools following several reported incidents in emergency departments.

Sepsis is the body’s abnormal and extreme response to an infection which sets off a reaction that can result in tissue damage, multi-organ failure and death. For reasons that we don’t fully understand, the body goes into overdrive as a response to an infection which can start anywhere in the body. The infection could be from a chest infection, UTI or from an infected cut or wound.

Sepsis affects more than 250,000 people in the UK every year and is more common than heart attacks. It kills more people than bowel, breast, and prostate cancer and road traffic accidents combined, totalling 52,000 per year including 1000 children.*

Despite these staggering facts, awareness of the signs of sepsis are low and symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses meaning that there are up to 14,000 preventable deaths in the UK every year.

Symptoms of sepsis include:

Slurred speech or confusion

Extreme shivering or muscle pain

Passing no urine (in a day)

Severe breathlessness

It feels like you’re going to die

Skin mottled or discoloured

Symptoms in babies and small children varies slightly but includes breathing very fast, having a ‘fit’ or convulsion, looking mottled, bluish, pale or having a rash that does not fade when you press it. Being very sleepy, cold to touch, not feeding or vomiting repeatedly and not passing urine for 12 hours are all signs of sepsis in babies. If you spot any of these signs then call 999 and just ask, “could it be sepsis?”

Unfortunately sepsis is a very serious and life-threatening condition and can develop very quickly. As soon as a patient has been diagnosed as possibly having sepsis, there is a “Golden Hour” when medical staff will, amongst other things, start antibiotics, give IV fluids and measure urine output.

NHS staff are currently working incredibly hard in very difficult conditions but the sooner that treatment can start, the better the patient outcome. Sadly one in four people who develop sepsis suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects, including amputations.

For more information on sepsis or further support, contact The UK Sepsis Trust.

(Source: The UK Sepsis Trust).

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