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The Size of Sepsis in Wales Study – first stage completed

23 June 2014

A report by Gemma Ellis and Tamas Szakmany

Wednesday 18th of June was a landmark 24 hours! The first stage in determining the number of adult in-patients within Wales who suffer from a sepsis event was completed across 2 Health Boards; Cardiff and Vale UHB and Cwm Taf UHB. This was a tricky study to co-ordinate and we had a few issues to overcome but thanks to the excellent co-ordination skills of Medical Student Robert Lundin, a whole army of CUReS members were mobilised – 80 in total. These students each worked at least an 8 hour shift system to cover 8 am on Wednesday to 8am on Thursday and they visited all in-patient areas in 4 hospital sites. Each site had a lead student co-ordinator working around the clock to ensure everything went smoothly and we would like to thank all those leads for this amazing and impressive achievements; Danielle Donoghue, Ben Sharif, Shivani Joshi and Ilaria Pignatelli. Special thanks go to the R&D team at Cwm Taf UHB, who guided us through the sometimes treacherous waters of local approval.

SoS students
CUReS Medical Students assemble for data collection in Department of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine

Across the 2 UHB’s we collected almost 400 datasets of patients exhibiting early signs of deterioration with a NEWS of 3 or above. We are particularly interested in the number of patients  affected by sepsis and the data collected, once analysed, will be able to answer this fundamental question. Without the hard work of these teams of Medical Students, this work would not have been possible and it demonstrates that students are an untapped resource who are very willing and able to work across academic, clinical and organisational boundaries with a research focus.

We look forward to analysing the data and understanding the lessons learnt from this exercise. We have already started planning an even bigger All-Wales project to really determine the Size of Sepsis in Wales. I wonder how many Medical Students that will involve?

Special thanks to Robert Lundin for making this happen and to both UHB’s, Cardiff University, RRAILS and WICS for their support. We were also very grateful to Michael Lim and Jeff Clark for their technology support.

Gemma Ellis and Tamas Szakmany (on behalf of the steering Committee members: Professor Judith Hall, Dr Paul Morgan, Terence Canning, Chris Hancock, Robert Lundin and Ilaria Pignatelli)