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THE LIVES of more than 200 patients with blood poisoning have been saved thanks to Great Western Hospital medics.

The hospital, which this week celebrated World Sepsis Day, said that since 2014 more than 220 patients suffering from the condition were kept alive thanks to quick-thinking from doctors and nurses.

Sepsis – more commonly called blood poisoning – happens when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and starts attacking itself.

If left untreated it can cause organ failure and death.

The condition can develop after other problems, like an untended cut or a chest infection, are left to spread to other areas of the body. Symptoms can include a hot or cold temperature, speeding heart rate or fast breathing rate.

Doctors at GWH say they have been focussed on getting patients with sepsis diagnosed quickly.

Dr Amanda Pegden, acute medicine consultant and sepsis lead, said: “With sepsis, speed is everything. An early diagnosis can often be the difference between life and death for some patients.

“We’re lucky at the Great Western Hospital that we have the skilled people and the tested systems in place to spot it very early, something still in development at other NHS hospitals.”

This year the hospital is celebrating World Sepsis Day as part of Quality Week – with a week-long programme of events and activities aimed at helping staff across the trust learn from colleagues and other trusts about how to improve care and keep patients safe.

Chief nurse Hilary Walker said that staff at the trust had worked to slash pressure ulcer rates. Earlier this year it was announced that pressure ulcer rates had fallen by 60 per cent compared to 2014/15.

“A pressure ulcer can have a huge impact on a patient’s recovery and general health and wellbeing, particularly among the elderly, which is why we’re doing everything we can to prevent them,” Hilary Walker said.

Quality Week is part of GWH’s strategy – adopted in 2015 – to save an additional 500 lives by 2020 by improving patient care - including by stopping falls, preventing pressure ulcers and improving diagnosis of acute kidney injuries.

For more, visit: www.gwh.nhs.uk/about-us/500-lives