RCGP Podcast: Suspect Sepsis? Communicating with the Ambulance Service

Dr Rachel Marsden, RCGP Clinical Support Fellow for the Sepsis Clinical Priority

The Sepsis Clinical Priority Team have held workshops across the country over the last two years. These have not only provided an opportunity for education, but also helped them discover, through group discussion, the challenges faced by GP's in identifying and managing Sepsis. Workshops have been well attended, and delegates were given the chance to discuss their experience of dealing with patients with suspected sepsis and the problems they faced.

A common theme of discussion surrounded communicating with the ambulance service and response times. Septic Shock is a time sensitive emergency, with one study suggesting a 7.6% increase in mortality for each hour antibiotics are delayed1, so timely transportation to hospital is vital, and our ambulance colleagues play a key part in this chain of care.

The ambulance service is facing rises in demand and challenges to their service provision. NHS statistics show that in 2016/17 there were 2.643 million Category A (which encompasses the highest priority calls) calls that resulted in an ambulance arriving at the scene2. The Sepsis team were joined at several workshops by members of the ambulance service, who gave highly informative presentations. They discussed how ambulance control rooms work, how calls from the public and GP's are prioritised, and how best to communicate with control room operatives.

These presentations, alongside comments and feedback from workshop delegates prompted the team to produce a ten-minute podcast discussing the lessons learned. Simon Stockley, Clinical Champion for Sepsis, recorded the podcast alongside Clinical Priorities Manager Samina Ladhani in early March 2018, and the podcast is available via the Sepsis Toolkit on our website. Not only this, but the toolkit also contains copies of some of the ambulance service presentations, and other sources of information and resources for GP's on Sepsis.

RCGP Podcast


  1. Kumar A, Roberts D, Wood KE et al. Duration of hypotension before initiation of effective antimicrobial therapy in the clinical determinants in survival in human shock. Critical Care Medicine. 2006; 34(16): 1589-96
  2. NHS England. Ambulance Quality Indicators.

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