Sepsis Diagnosis

Sepsis sufferers could miss out on life-saving treatment if Scotland doesn’t explore technology being used in England, according to Angus MP Kirstene Hair.

The blood poisoning is thought to kill about 50,000 people a year in the UK.

Research by Kirstene Hair last year found the number of Tayside sepsis cases had risen to a high of 904 in 2017/18, against 788 the year before.

NHS England now say trials of a digital alert technology have already saved hundreds of lives.

And Ms Hair has urged the SNP’s health secretary to “step up” and cooperate with UK health chiefs or risk causing disparity between sufferers north and south of the border.

Jeane Freeman’s predecessor, Shona Robison, refused to back a nationwide education in 2017, despite the advice of Holyrood’s petitions committee.


The Scottish Conservative MP writes to Mr Freeman:

“I am sure you have read about the fantastic work being done in NHS England to obtain a vital early diagnosis in the majority of suspected cases, with three sites being developed.

“Early detection is key to survival with this terrible illness.

“The sooner someone is given antibiotics, the better a chance they have of recovery.

“So you will agree it is time to investigate working with partners in NHS England, and using your links with the UK Government’s Department of Health, to set up a similar scheme.

“In NHS Tayside, the board which covers my constituency of Angus, the sepsis rate reached a five-year high in the last financial year.

“Your predecessor Shona Robison did not seem to think that necessitates action but I would join campaign groups in refuting that position.”


The condition claimed the life of Angus nurse Laura Balfour in 2017.

She died at the age of 35 after contracting a foot infection that led to sepsis.

Early symptoms of sepsis include fast breathing or a fast heartbeat, high or low temperature, chills and shivering. Sufferers may or may not have a fever.

Severe symptoms can develop soon afterwards and include blood pressure falling low, dizziness, disorientation, slurred speech, mottled skin, nausea and vomiting.