WARRINGTON Hospital has become the first in the country to designate a bed in its A&E department specifically for sepsis patients.

A designated area in the emergency department with specialist nurses to care for patients showing symptoms of sepsis was set up in April, with the aim of treating sufferers within an hour.

With patients seen in an average 30 minutes, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust now boasts one of the best response times for sepsis in the country.

Around four or five people present at A&E with sepsis on an average day.

Dr Sally Richardson, the trust's clinical lead for sepsis, said: “We try to get antibiotics into the patients within an hour of the arriving in A&E because it’s proven to improve outcomes.

“The sooner we can get the antibiotics into the patients the better, and obviously if they’re waiting in an ambulance they’re not getting the antibiotics.

“More people die from sepsis than from heart attacks and cancer, yet sepsis awareness has only increased recently.

“Even you don’t die, if you get severe sepsis you can end up losing your fingers and toes or you might have a prolonged stay in intensive care.

“Every hour that antibiotic administration is delayed you increase the mortality rate by eight per cent, which is why it’s so important to get the antibiotics in."

Now the bed, the first of its kind in the UK, has been nominated for the Royal College of Emergency Medicine's Project of the Year.

Matron Ali Crawford added: “We’ve had a lot of interest from other trusts that have been to see what we’re doing and we’ve been recognised by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

“It’s been a great initiative that’s worked really well, and something that is very simple.

“Across the trust, it’s been a massive team effort - it’s about patient safety and it’s saving lives.

“All the hard work that’s been done by the sepsis team has come to fruition."