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UK Sepsis Trust 'Just Ask' Campaign

by 11-London for The UK Sepsis Trust

Summary of work

Every year, sepsis kills more people in the UK than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined, but is chronically ‘under-diagnosed, under-recorded and under-reported’

11 London, with the UK Sepsis Trust, developed the ‘Just ask: could it be sepsis?’ campaign to address this health crisis.

‘Just ask’ was adopted and funded by Public Health England, following the engagement of Sir Bruce Keogh and Jeremy Hunt. This escalation to government-level was accelerated by the tireless campaigning of Melissa Mead and long-term support from the Daily Mail.

‘Just ask’ is now in A&E departments and GP surgeries all across the UK, in the form of posters, leaflets, symptom cards, and liveried ambulance fleets. The ‘Red Book’ issued to all new parents now contains our child-sepsis symptom checker.

Since 2015, awareness of sepsis as an emergency condition rose by 15% and current official case recordings are four times greater. Although the fight is ongoing, sepsis survivor Tom Ray notes, “The reminder to 'Just Ask' is spot on: I so wish this had been the practice when I was admitted to hospital. That one single catchphrase will save lives - I know it.”

Judges’ comments

This was a very impressive piece of work and, given its limited budget, very good value. It targeted the huge need for early detection in this area, tackling it with a multipronged campaign. As part of that, getting the Daily Mail on board was a breakthrough. The staff that worked on this were so passionate about it and they made the work a real contender in this category.