Article Text

Download PDFPDF
02 A pilot study to assess the feasibility of paramedics delivering antibiotic treatment to ‘red flag’ sepsis patients
  1. Jonathan Chippendale1,
  2. Adele Lloyd2,
  3. Tanya Payne3,
  4. Sally Dunmore3,
  5. Bethan Stoddart4
  1. 1East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust (EMAS)
  2. 2Sepsis Nurse Specialist, North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust
  3. 3East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, (EMAS)
  4. 4Consultant Microbiologist, Path Links


Background Sepsis is associated with a 36% mortality rate rising up to 50% for septic shock. Currently when an East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) clinician recognises ‘red flag’ sepsis, only the oxygen and fluid elements of the ‘Sepsis 6’ care bundle are delivered, omitting the antibiotic therapy. Each hour antibiotics are delayed there is an increased risk of septic shock which is associated with a 7.6% greater risk of death. Ambulance clinicians are therefore appropriately placed to assess and commence treatment at the earliest point of recognition. The aim of this pilot was to assess the feasibility of paramedic training in recognising ‘red flag’ sepsis, obtaining blood cultures and administering a broad spectrum antibiotic to patients in the pre-hospital environment.

Methods A prospective six month feasibility pilot evaluation was introduced in May 2016. Paramedics were trained and given access to a broad spectrum antibiotic along with a patient group directive (PGD) to administer the antibiotic to ‘red flag’ sepsis patients. Training included sepsis recognition, taking of blood cultures and PGD compliance.

Results 20 paramedics volunteered and successfully completed the training. Of the patients that were identified as ‘red flag’ sepsis (n=113) 93% (n=107) were confirmed as infected by hospital record. 98 blood samples were harvested of which only 7.14% (n=7) were reported contaminated compared to an overall 8.48% of those taken in ED during the same time period. 80% (n=90) of patients assessed by paramedics met the criteria and were treated with meropenem. PGD compliance was 100%.

Conclusion EMAS paramedics were accurate and reliable in their recognition of identifying ‘red flag’ sepsis and able to administer meropenem safely in accordance with the PGD. EMAS paramedic blood sample contamination rate was lower than those taken in the ED.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.