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Think sepsis! Think Moira!

Posted: 17 December 2019

Picture of Moira

Immersive clinical role-play designed to improve patient safety

- 696 staff trained on ‘Sepsis’ and 821 trained on ‘NEWS2’ and ‘Signs of Deterioration’ in the last 18 months - across three sites; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Hospitals.

- 92% of patients screened on admission for suspected sepsis – up 46% since 2015.

- 94% of patients receiving intravenous antibiotics within an hour of a sepsis diagnosis - up 36% since 2015.

WHHT’s Sepsis Specialist Moira Surridge single-mindedly campaigns across the Trust to improve the recognition and early treatment of sepsis for nurses, healthcare assistants, visitors and patients.

You can’t miss her, in her trademark orange ‘Think Sepsis’ t-shirt, the former NHS ITU nurse supports 35 wards over the three hospital sites, sharing information and giving hands-on advice.

Moira has designed and delivered sepsis and National Early Warning Score (NEWS2) resource folders to 44 departments including X-ray, day surgery and outpatients. She has tailor made training leaflets and sessions for the dental team, cancer and immunocompromised patients, and patients with a learning disability - who die on average 20 years earlier than the general population with sepsis being the main cause.

She has single headedly trained 630 staff in one-hour training across the Trust and taught 821 staff thirty-minute sessions on NEWS2 and Signs of Deterioration in the last 18 months alone. Moira has also collaborated with the East of England Ambulance Trust where she delivered her bespoke sepsis session.

Picture of sepis labelsMoira said: “I love my job and I know I can make a difference. My mission is to try to get nurses to physically reconnect with their observations. We need to be interpreting observations according to who we are nursing. It’s like opening a book which is telling a story. Technology is great and speeds up work, but it mustn’t replace instinct. If for one second your instinct tells you something is wrong – never ignore it. I have never known a nurse to be wrong in these circumstances.

“If you follow what I say – if you follow the guidelines to put deterioration right, I have no doubt that you will stop sepsis in its tracks.”

In addition to raising awareness of sepsis triggers through posters, newsletters and leaflets, she has also audited more than 2,000 observation charts in 18 months and runs a dedicated Twitter account - having posted 437 sepsis related messages to her followers.

Through her efforts, the number of patients screened on admission for suspected sepsis has risen from 46% in 2015 to 92% in three years and the number of patients who receive intravenous antibiotics within an hour of a sepsis diagnosis is now at 94% compared with 58% in 2015.

In addition to all of this, in the run up to World Sepsis Day in September 2018 she organised staff, patients and carers to come together to help spread awareness of the signs of sepsis through the West Herts #ChainofAction. Some 2,500 fluorescent orange paper links were distributed across West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to create a paper chain filled with words and phrases associated with sepsis. Hundreds of people contributed, and the final chain measured over 100 metres in length, providing a vivid visual trigger for staff and the public to ask – ‘could it be sepsis?’

This year for World Sepsis Day she completed 44 resource folders and installed 35 sepsis wall chart displays in clinical areas across the Trust.

Moira added: “Everything I have done in my career has culminated in this work. I have seen the horrific side of sepsis that you don’t want to see.

“I see the action that can really make the difference is on the wards and if you put deterioration right the second it starts then you have a chance – if not then the more ingrained it is, the harder it is to turn it around.”


Notes to editors

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  2. WeWest Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
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