Sepsis test could show results ‘in minutes’

A new rapid test for earlier diagnosis of sepsis is being developed by University of Strathclyde researchers.

The device, which has been tested in a laboratory, may be capable of producing results in two-and-a-half minutes, the Biosensors and Bioelectronics journal study suggests.

Diagnosing sepsis can be a complex process.

The UK Sepsis Trust said it welcomed the research but added that no test was perfect at spotting the condition.

It is estimated that 52,000 people in the UK die every year from sepsis, which is a serious complication of an infection.

There is a lot of research going on to attempt to find out what exactly triggers the sometimes fatal reaction involved in sepsis.

The initial problem can be quite mild and start anywhere – from a cut on the finger to a chest or urine infection – but if left untreated can set off a cascade of reactions, from shock to organ failure and in some cases, death.

Early diagnosis is key because for every hour that antibiotic treatment is delayed, the likelihood of death increases.

Diagnosis of sepsis is usually based on clinical judgement, body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, and a series of blood tests.

As soon as sepsis is suspected, broad-acting antibiotics should be given to the patient.

A blood test that aims to determine the best antibiotic to treat the infection can take up to 72 hours.

The new test uses a device to detect if one of the protein biomarkers of sepsis, interleukin-6 (IL-6), is present in the blood.

Dr Damion Corrigan, who helped develop the test, said IL-6 is one of the best markers of sepsis.

“The type of test we envisage could be at the bedside and involve doctors or nurses being able to monitor levels of sepsis biomarkers for themselves.”

He said the test would work well in GP surgeries and in A&E to quickly rule sepsis in or out, if it was eventually approved through clinical trials.

Dr Corrigan added that sepsis not only kills people but can also leave them with life-changing problems, such as limb loss, kidney failure and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

The idea is that the device could be implanted and used on patients in intensive care.

The project’s clinical adviser and co-author, Dr David Alcorn, from Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, said the tiny electrode had the potential to detect sepsis and, at the same time, diagnose the type of infection and the recommended antibiotic.

“The implications for this are massive, and the ability to give the right antibiotic at the right time to the right patient is extraordinary.

“I can definitely see this having a clear use in hospitals, not only in this country, but all round the world.”

The researchers have applied for funding to develop a prototype device and hope to get commercial interest in taking it forward.

They hope the low-cost test could come into everyday use in three to five years.

*Taken from BBC Health News

For more information read “Early identification is key to sepsis treatment”

Help Us Help You by choosing pharmacy first

Sefton residents are being reminded they can get expert advice about any minor health concerns they may have from their local pharmacy, saving them a trip to their doctor’s surgery.

That’s the message from health commissioners in the borough as part of the latest phase of the national ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign, focusing on the range of services and support available from pharmacies.

Pharmacy teams offer a fast and convenient clinical service for minor health concerns with no appointment needed and use of a private consultation room should it be required.

Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “I urge everyone to make full use of their local pharmacist all year round; they use their clinical expertise together with their practical knowledge to give you the best advice.

Susanne Lynch web
Susanne Lynch, head of medicines management at the CCGs in Sefton

“Health services can often become really busy and overstretched over winter. By visiting your local pharmacy with any minor health concerns, you will avoid waiting for an appointment.

“Our pharmacists can advise you on what over-the-counter medicines you may need in this cold weather and let you know about any side effects of medication so it is beneficial to ask their advice.”

According to NHS England 27 per cent of GP appointments in England could potentially be treated elsewhere. You can simply walk into your pharmacy – without an appointment – and they will be able to offer you advice.

Help us, help you, before it gets worse. Visit for more information.

Stay fit – for free

The Feelgood Factory, a Living Well Sefton partner, has a new 12-week exercise programme on a Wednesday. The programme is aimed at people who are working but would struggle to find the time to go to – or pay for – regular exercise classes.

Philomena Zilinski, Healthy Living Services Manager at the Feelgood Factory, explains: “The exercise classes are free and the aim of the project is to encourage working-age people to realise the value of doing regular activity as it is often not seen as being a priority for people to spend money on exercise.”

All participants on the course can have a free NHS check and will be asked to complete a short active lifestyle questionnaire at the beginning, middle and end to evaluate its impact.

The exercise class runs from 5.30pm to 6.15pm of a Wednesday at the Glovers Lane community centre in Netherton.

To book on or for more information, call 0151 291 8010.

PALS 6 red week exercise Programme Feb 2019 Sports England 2

Sefton Cycle Chat returns by popular demand

Anyone with an interest in cycling is encouraged to attend the next Sefton Cycle Chat at the MeCycle Café on Station Road, Ainsdale.

The evening session, on Tuesday March 5, runs from 6pm until 8pm and is an ideal opportunity to talk about cycling issues and news around Sefton.

The latest of many regular meetings, a number of riders, enthusiasts and local groups are set to come together and debate the top topics that affect cyclists in the borough.SF MeCycle Autisim Venture outside (2012)

Special guest at the session will be road safety consultant Paul Mountford, who will update the group on cycling-related initiatives by the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership.

All local cyclists will be warmly welcomed at the March session and will be encouraged to engage with their ideas and thoughts on topical matters.

If you would like further information please email or call 0151 934 4541/4808.

Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ scheme funds notice boards in Rimrose Valley

A community funding scheme run by Tesco in Litherland has enabled Rimrose Valley Friends to deliver four, hand-carved notice boards at entrances around the much-loved Country Park.

The initiative required members of the public to vote for their favourite cause using counters given to them in store.  Originally intended to improve just one entrance, the amount awarded stretched to notice boards being delivered to four entrances around the valley.  Beach Road and Gorsey Lane are already in place, with two more due to be installed soon at the Derwent Road and Brindley Close entrances.

Roy Bouffler, who designed and made the notice boards, said: “It was a pleasure to create something for a place that holds special memories for me, as a child and then with my own children.  It’s a place of peace and tranquillity, which I have felt the benefit of.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Rimrose Valley is a great asset in the borough and The Green Sefton – and Natural Alternatives – team were happy to help, putting up Roy’s marvellous notice boards. They look great in situ, are a fine example of local craftsmanship and I’m sure will be well appreciated by our communities.”

Linda Gaskell of Rimrose Valley Friends added: “We’re delighted to be able to deliver the notice boards and to enhance several of the busiest entrances to the park.  The notice boards will contain a mixture of charity, campaign and other community notices, aimed at helping to bring the various communities which surround Rimrose Valley closer together.

“Work like this demonstrates that Rimrose Valley Friends as a charity is planning for the future of the Country Park and we are not put off by the threat of Highways England’s proposed road.

“Space is obviously limited, but any community groups or charities interested in submitting a notice should email 

“Please note that advertisements will not be accepted.”

Rimrose Valley noticeboards

Sefton schools championing mental health sought for new award

The prestigious Educate Awards are returning for 2019 with a new category for mental health and wellbeing.

Founded by Kim O’Brien in 2012, the awards are the largest education awards in the North West and are an opportunity for schools to showcase their credentials across a number of categories.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing Award is open to both primary and secondary schools across the region and recognises schools that are effectively tackling mental health issues among pupils and staff.

The award will focus on the long-term culture of a school and those with an ethos where mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all.

According to recent figures, mental health problems affect 1 in 8 children and young people (NHS Digital). This new award hopes to shine a spotlight on the support schools have in place to promote good mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Entries must show provision and interventions available for pupils and staff, a commitment to promoting mental health as part of school life and can include views from parents, pupils and teachers.

This follows a pledge by the government to roll out mental health lessons to all schools from September 2020 as part of a redesigned national curriculum.

Kim O’Brien, founder of the Awards, says: “As children and young people continue to face many pressures, raising awareness of mental health and emotional wellbeing is so important.

“Schools play a vital role in this support and we are looking for strong examples of how schools are creating an environment where children can thrive with good mental health.

“The mental health of teachers and staff is just as important and entries can reflect various school initiatives which tackle mental health issues among pupils and staff.”

Alongside this new category, 20 others are returning for 2019, focused on everything from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths), arts, careers, sport to individual awards for school support stars and teachers.

Since launching in Liverpool in 2012, the awards has grown rapidly and now recognises schools and colleges right across the Liverpool City Region, Cheshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

Kim adds: “We are delighted to launch the call for entries for 2019 and are looking forward to celebrating another year of outstanding education in the North West.”

Entries are now open and the deadline is midnight on Sunday 23 June 2019. The shortlist will be announced prior to the awards ceremony and the winners will be revealed on 15 November at Liverpool Cathedral.

For further information including full details of how to enter, please visit Awards

Award categories

  • The Communication Award
  • Eco School Project of the Year
  • Spirit of Enterprise Award
  • SEND Provision Award
  • Innovative and Creative Literacy Award
  • STEM Project of the Year
  • Outstanding Arts in a Primary School
  • Outstanding Arts in a Secondary School
  • Career Aspiration Award
  • Outstanding Commitment to Sport in a Primary School
  • Outstanding Commitment to Sport in a Secondary School
  • Community Partnership Award
  • *NEW* Mental Health & Wellbeing Award *NEW*
  • Innovation in Education Award
  • School Support Star of the Year
  • Teacher of the Year
  • Leadership Team of the Year
  • Most Inspirational 16-18 Education Provider
  • Most Inspirational Secondary School
  • Most Inspirational Primary School
  • Wow Recognition Award

Chance to work on staff wellbeing

Living Well Sefton, in partnership with Sefton Public Health, is offering to boost the wellbeing of workers by awarding Sefton businesses a Workplace Wellbeing Grant of £500.

Karen Nolan, Living Well Sefton co-ordinator, explains: “Looking after the wellbeing of employees will make for a stronger organisation with a happier, healthier workforce. Improving workplace wellbeing can also contribute to reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and support staff to improve their lifestyles.”

A recent study into workplace wellbeing by the charity Mind highlighted poor mental health at work as being widespread, with half (48 per cent) of all people surveyed saying they had experienced a mental health problem, such as anxiety or stress, in their current job.

The grant money can go towards: staff costs, covering sessional work such as yoga; volunteer costs; equipment such as bike racks to encourage active travel to work; training courses with a wellbeing focus and events to support the wellbeing of staff.

It can also be used to refurbish facilities which contribute to the health and wellbeing of staff, for example decorating a break room or buying a table and chairs to encourage people to eat lunch away from their desks.

Already the grants have helped to transform how people work. The money has gone towards buying a bike shelter to complement the organisation’s cycling to work scheme.

While another organisation has used the grant to buy resources such as adult bean bags, new paint and curtains, to create a relaxing staff room. This will provide a place where staff can re-energise, connect with one another and provide support and motivation.

The £500 grants are open to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sefton that have fewer than 250 employees (60% of which have to be Sefton residents) and priority will be given to those businesses which employ routine and manual workers.

Karen adds: “If you are not sure whether or not your idea qualifies please get in touch to ask.”

Click for a Workplace Wellbeing Grants form and criteria

For more information, contact Living Well Sefton on 0300 323 0181 or email:


Sefton Council launches Sefton’s Year of Friendship 2019

Sefton Council is delighted to celebrate the official launch of Sefton’s Year of Friendship 2019.

A launch event held last Thursday (24th) at Waterloo Community Centre highlighted the positive impact friendships have on peoples’ lives.

Over recent years there has been an increase in loneliness within certain groups across Sefton, which has a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing.

According to national research, the effect of loneliness and isolation can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is more damaging than obesity. It is closely associated with depression, suicide risk, impact on quality of life and can result in more visits to GPs and admissions to hospital.

The Year of Friendship will showcase the many different forms of friendships, and help to signpost people to groups and activities to help them build new networks – helping those who could benefit from friendship the most.

Throughout the year, work will be aimed at reaching out to those people who need it most and will be themed around many key areas, including diversity, older people, specialist groups and younger people to open conversations about loneliness, how people are affected and where to get help.

Having 2019 dedicated to the Year of Friendship will build on the Council’s Core Purpose of facilitating confident and resilient communities to help achieve the ambitions of its Vision 2030, contributing to the themes ‘A Borough for Everyone’ and ‘Together we are Stronger’.

There will also be an opportunity for community groups to get involved in a project to create friendship bracelets that will be used at the end of the year to create a lasting representation of friendship. Any groups interested in getting involved can email to request materials and further information.

yof launch
Launch of Year of Friendship

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance and sponsor for the Year of Friendship, said: “Friendships touch people’s lives in so many positive ways, providing comfort and support, fostering community development, and improving health and wellbeing.

“I am delighted to be the sponsor for 2019 Sefton’s Year of Friendship. We now have the opportunity to work alongside groups and organisations across the borough to highlight and celebrate the wonderful work that’s helping to bring people together. It’s something we are really looking forward to celebrate by bringing our inclusive communities even closer together.”

The Year of Friendship follows on from the success of the Year of the Volunteer 2018 that culminated in a huge increase of the numbers of volunteers in Sefton who delivered 118,689 hours of service in 2018.

Click here to find out more about the Year of Friendship and how you can get involved.

You can make every contact count

Living Well Sefton now has a new series of dates for its free Make Every Contact Count (MECC) training.

Backed by Public Health England, the training aims to maximise the opportunities front line workers have to increase the number of healthy chats in Sefton.

The training provides advice and support for behaviour change so that people can have better wellbeing and live longer, healthier lives.

It’s a strategy developed by NHS Health Education England and is described as: “Making changes such as stopping smoking, improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and reducing alcohol consumption can help people to reduce their risk of poor health significantly.

amm with mecc badges
Anne-Marie Morrison from Living Well Sefton (left) delivering a MECC session

“Making every contact count (MECC) is an approach to behaviour change that utilises the millions of day-to-day interactions that organisations and people have with other people to encourage changes in behaviour that have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and populations.”

Living Well Sefton has being delivering MECC in Sefton since January 2017 and trained around 1,200 people to a minimum of Level 1.

There has been a wide range of people taking part and from a variety of roles including Department of Works and Pensions work coaches, volunteers, chief executives, council staff, small community organisations and elected members.

Why not join them in making a difference to those you come across on a daily basis through work and also outside of work?

For a full list of dates and venues, as well as to book on, visit the Living Well Sefton page on Eventbrite.























































































































































































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