Hospital bosses completed their first Cycle4Sepsis challenge at the weekend (Saturday 15 September), joining a team of medical and nursing staff to cycle more than 100 miles across Somerset.

The group of nine from Yeovil Hospital, including Chief Executive Jonathan Higman and Non-Executive Director Graham Hughes, cycled a total of 106 miles (170.7km) from Yeovil Hospital to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Weston General Hospital, then back to Yeovil via Wells.

This is Yeovil Hospital’s fourth year taking part in the cycling challenge with previous routes to London and Cardiff proving hugely successful. This year’s trip took the team 11 hours including breaks with the pedals turning for eight hours and 13 minutes, making an average speed of 12.9 miles per hour.

After completing the ride, Yeovil Hospital Chief Executive Jonathan Higman said: “It was great to be involved with such a cross section of staff from throughout the hospital, raising awareness of such a key issue that impacts on so many of our patients.

“It was a real personal challenge as I’d only previously cycled 40 miles in one go before, so it was a step into the unknown. The team was great and really supported those of us with less experience.

“The weather was ideal and the journey from Yeovil to Taunton was particularly picturesque – it’s a beautiful part of the world. The route was fairly flat although the hill between Street and Somerton was the biggest challenge, and then Stone Lane is very steep right at the end but I knew that once we reached the top it was all downhill the rest of the way so that kept me going.”

Each year it is estimated more than 100,000 people in the UK are admitted to hospital with sepsis and around 44,000 people die every year as a result of the condition. This figure includes 25,000 children affected by sepsis each year.

Yeovil Hospital Outreach Nurse and Sepsis Lead Emma Young has been planning these annual cycles for the last four years and plays a vital role in running the support van travelling alongside the cyclists.

“Over the last few years the recognition and treatment of sepsis within hospitals has improved greatly, patients are treated more quickly and we are seeing real improvements in our survival rates. However, this is only one part of the bigger picture. What we need now is for the public to know the signs and to seek medical help and advice earlier. Many members of the public have still not heard of sepsis or know the signs to look for. Everyone is at risk of sepsis. It is a complication of an infection where the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. Without prompt treatment it can lead to shock, organ failure and potentially death.

“The cycle4sepsis is all about raising awareness and sharing the resources provided by the charity the UK Sepsis Trust. We aim to get people talking about sepsis, the more people are aware, the more likely they are to recognise it and seek help quickly.”

Speaking about the team’s achievement Dr Ron Daniels BEM, UK Sepsis Trust CEO said: “We’d like to extend our thanks to Yeovil Hospital for their support of the UK Sepsis Trust in completing the Cycle4Sepsis for the last four years.

“This year’s route was chosen due to the opening of the Somerset Sepsis Support Group this week, to help those affected by post-sepsis syndrome. PSS is common and can affect people of any age, manifesting as both physical and mental after-effects, so ongoing support for those who need it is vital. One of UKST’S four main aims is to support those affected by sepsis and each group that opens helps us to achieve this aim.”

Emma added: “I would like to extend my thanks to the support crews who made the cycle possible. The van and fuel was donated for the day by Rock & Road Ltd Yeovil, crewed by Libby Soord and Katherine and Tim Robjohn. With Tabitha Young and I running the additional car crew. Most importantly, the support vehicles were well-stocked with cakes made by Emma’s mum Jan Parsons. It’s a real team effort with a role for everybody.”

Sepsis (also known as blood poisoning) can result in organ failure and death. Yet with early diagnosis, it can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

If you would like to support the team and make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sepsisstars

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