A Note for Clinical Commissioning Groups from Melissa Mead, UK Sepsis Trust Ambassador
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Melissa Mead, I am 29 years old and I live in Penryn, Cornwall. You may very well have heard of me, but more so, my son, William Mead. For those of you who are unaware, William was a happy, bright and much loved little boy who sadly succumbed to sepsis at home in December 2014, shortly after his first birthday.
I am not going to go into great detail regarding the circumstances leading up to William’s death – you can if you like read the NHS England report which is on their investigations website. As a family we do not wish to create a ‘them and us’ culture, so we are trying our utmost to channel our pain and grief into something constructive that will create a lasting legacy for William. Our goal is to prevent more families going through what we have – and I’d be so grateful for your help.
The little A5 red books that are distributed to all new parents are often a resource in uncertain times – I referred to it when William had contracted sepsis, and I subsequently sought advice across the system from William’s primary carer, 111 and out of hours doctors. The lack of information on sepsis meant I didn’t know what to look out for – and I think there is a simple fix that would go a long way. I set it out below.
With the help of several stakeholders such as the UK Sepsis Trust, paediatricians, sepsis experts, GP’s and also parents who, like me, have lost children to sepsis we have worked extensively on the ‘Spotting sepsis and serious illness in children’ leaflet. The predecessor to this leaflet was the SAM leaflet. The leaflet has now been redesigned to be more engaging, more informative and most importantly more accurate. I am contacting you with the vision and hope that you will agree to include this leaflet within the content (not just an insert) in all future red books in the area your CCG covers.
It is a wonderful, easy to use resource that empowers parents with the information they need to be able to make better, more informed and potentially time-critical decisions about their child’s onward care. The red book is guaranteed to be in every house in the UK with a child and be easily accessible. I had the red book when William was ill but there was no insert like this at the time. I of course knew the signs and symptoms of meningitis (which this leaflet also covers) but did not know what sepsis was or its symptoms. Perhaps if I did, I would not be writing to you today.
What I am asking is that you join me, the UK Sepsis Trust and the Department of Health in our campaign to raise awareness of sepsis and with this leaflet other serious illness in children. I have been informed that each CCG operates its own red book. So what I would love to see is a unanimous show of hands and a united approach from you all to help us combat preventable deaths from sepsis, by agreeing to include this in the red books in the area your CCG covers.
The nitty gritty…
The best approach we have seen (from those already operating this) would be for each CCG to make a one off purchase of the leaflet artwork from the UK Sepsis Trust for £1,750, you are then free to print and disseminate the leaflet without too many steps in-between to achieve our combined objective. The alternative is for you to order a fixed amount of leaflets from the UKST per year for however many books you envisage will be required. The leaflets can then be sent directly to you. We would like to see this in place as soon as possible, with an anticipated 800,000 new births this year (including William’s sibling), this has the potential to reach so many families.
Anyway, we can discuss further information if you would like to contact me directly my email is email@example.com.
I am an ambassador of the UKST but I’m asking you to help because first and foremost I am a mother and my passion lies with William and making sure through our work, William did not die in vain; and hopefully many more lives can be saved through awareness of this very common condition.