The Royal College of Nursing have called for the urgent dissemination of a national Paediatric Early Warning Score to better identify the signs of sepsis in children and reduce the number of children who lose their lives every year in the UK (estimated to be between 1000-4000).

A symptoms checklist for adults already exists but NHS trusts often use their own systems for children. The children’s checklist would help medics spot when a youngster is deteriorating through checking temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and other signs, such as urination, skin colour and rash.

Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust comments:

“We absolutely support the Royal College of Nursing in calling for the urgent development and dissemination of a national paediatric early warning score. At present, even in the same city, clinicians use a variety of different early warning scores to identify acute illness in children. The result of this is that they communicate with each other and assess the severity of a child’s illness using different tools — different languages even.

In order to drive things forward, we are going to need a degree of assertiveness from NHS England and NHS Improvement, as we have seen with the system for adults. Having a standardised early warning tool applied across the NHS as we do with adults, will allow the entire clinical community to recognise illness in children in the same way and to work together toward developing a system which responds robustly, reliably and consistently for children of all ages — a system that will allow that community to learn, together, to further refine the tool and make sure it continues saving the lives of children into the future.

Awareness is the key to saving lives and this year we’ve partnered with Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, to do this on unprecedented levels. Thanks to IFCF, our branding is currently on Iceland-branded milk bottles nationwide, and with their support we are developing a campaign to educate KS2 school children.”

Dr Ron Daniels and case studies are available for comment, contact Isabella Wilson on 07483 313 162 or at