Plans for a campaign to raise awareness of a disease that kills thousands each year have been rejected by the SNP government.
Health secretary Shona Robison has been criticised for the decision not to increase awareness about sepsis, a move that will leave campaigners “angry and frustrated”.
Previously, Holyrood’s petitions committee recommended such an appeal should be carried out across the country.
But today it was reported that the Scottish Government said it wasn’t “necessary at this time”, even though sepsis kills an estimated 44,000 people each year in the UK, including around 3500 Scots.
Campaigners wanted to increase awareness as early identification of the disease improves the chances of survival.
Sepsis is the complication of an infection which, if left untreated, can lead to multiple organ failure.
The Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust said the decision was “absurd” and “complacent”.
Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs has now written to Ms Robison asking her to reconsider.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“Campaigners are understandably angry and frustrated, and I agree with them that this is a significant mistake.
“The SNP should reconsider this as a matter of urgency.
“Given that early identification is critical in order to allow for treatment, it seems logical that more action is needed to educate and inform the public about sepsis and its symptoms.
“A national awareness campaign would be an appropriate way of doing this.”
Notes to editors:
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Below is the text of the letter from shadow health secretary Miles Briggs to his SNP counterpart Shona Robison:
Dear Cabinet Secretary,
I understand that you have decided to reject a national campaign to raise awareness of sepsis on the basis that you do not consider it necessary at this time.
Sepsis campaigners are understandably angry and frustrated and I too believe your decision to reject this awareness raising campaign is a significant mistake. The Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee has also given its support to such a campaign. I am therefore writing to you to ask you to reconsider your position on this as a matter of urgency.
The Scottish Government estimates that sepsis kills 3,500 Scots each year, although the UK Sepsis Trust suggests the figure could be significantly higher. Given that early identification is critical in order to allow for vital treatment within an hour, it seems logical that more action is needed to educate and inform the public about sepsis and its symptoms and that an awareness campaign is the appropriate way of doing this, as has been done successfully with other health conditions.
I hope that you will agree to look again at this matter and work with sepsis campaigners to ensure that more people can recognise the symptoms of sepsis in order that death rates can be reduced.
I look forward to your response.
Miles Briggs MSP