Queensland Sepsis Program - Could this be sepsis?

Queensland has a comprehensive sepsis program incorporating improvements to clinical practice, research, support for those affected by sepsis, a public awareness campaign, and sepsis education.

The Queensland Sepsis Program - Could this be sepsis? is governed by the Queensland Sepsis Steering Committee (QSSC) with support from the Paediatric Sepsis Clinical Advisory Group.

The Queensland Sepsis Program (QSP) has a strong focus on consumer participation and Adult and Paediatric consumer representatives actively contribute as members of the Queensland Sepsis Steering Committee (QSSC), Paediatric Sepsis Clinical Advisory Group (PSCAG) and Sepsis Communication Group. Their involvement in every phase of the program has been vital to our success.

The QSP was launched in November 2016 in response to the increasing incidence and adverse outcomes from sepsis. Statewide Sepsis Forums were hosted by Clinical Excellence Queensland (CEQ) in May 2017(adults) and August 2018 (paediatrics) and were, attended by over 200 clinicians from throughout Queensland. There was widespread agreement that a co-ordinated approach was required to improve sepsis outcomes.

The program also addresses some of the key recommendations of the Stopping Sepsis: A National Action Plan for Australia.

The QSP has adopted a phased approach to address sepsis, commencing with Emergency Departments (EDs) where over 80% of public hospital sepsis patients present. All phases to date have included adult and paediatric sepsis. Throughout every phase of the program there is a strong focus on antimicrobial stewardship to ensure no unintended harm results from antibiotic prescribing practices.

In preparation for the ED phase, CEQ facilitated a pilot project at Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) ED to develop and test an adult sepsis screening tool and treatment bundle (within a sepsis pathway) which was endorsed for wider testing in other Queensland EDs. A subsequent similar pilot project was conducted at GCUH ED to test an equivalent paediatric sepsis pathway. The sepsis pathways developed and tested during the GCUH pilots served as the basis for a best practice change package for the ED phases of the QSP.

Teams from 16 metropolitan and regional hospital EDs (assessed as CSCF Level 4-6) participated in a Sepsis Collaborative from August 2018-March 2020. See our Improving sepsis recognition and treatment ePoster displaying the collaborative results which was presented at the BMJ International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare Australasia 2021.

Sites with EDs assessed as CSCF level 1-3 were the focus of the Rural and Remote Sepsis Project.

Inpatient sepsis
The inpatient phase which focusses on hospital-acquired sepsis is underway.

Digital Sepsis Tools
A separate project is being undertaken to test and develop digital tools within the electronic health record to assist clinicians to recognise and treat sepsis earlier.

Primary care

The reduction of sepsis mortality and morbidity in Queensland can only be achieved by working collaboratively with a number of stakeholders, including the primary care, education, private health and community sectors. Members of the Queensland Sepsis Program - Could this be sepsis? Project team are actively consulting with these groups.

Contact us

To find out more or to become involved in sepsis program please contact us via:

Email: sepsis@health.qld.gov.au or paediatricsepsis@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 22 October 2021