CAMPAIGNERS have been angered after demands for a nationwide publicity drive to educate people about the dangers of a bug that kills at least 3,500 Scots a year were rejected.

They had been hopeful the Health Secretary would back an initiative to highlight the importance of receiving urgent treatment for Sepsis after a campaign won the backing of a Holyrood committee.

But Shona Robison, who announced one will not take place, has decided against such a move and instead praised the NHS in Scotland for ensuring patients receive medical help within the so-called ‘golden hour’ that it has been proved can save lives.

F.E.A.T, a charity set up by Craig Stobo, the husband of Falkirk GP, Dr Fiona Elizabeth Agnew, of Edinburgh, who died of Sepsis within hours of her baby Isla being stillborn in August 2012 after the disease attacked mother and daughter, said the decision was “a public health scandal”.

Mr Stobo, whose late wife’s initial’s make up the name of the charity which aims to halt the spread of the condition through funding research into early detection, said: “It is not acceptable at this stage to be complacent and it is not acceptable for them to take this line when the incidence of sepsis is still increasing.

“Tonight, tomorrow and next week there will be people dying because of their inaction.”

Sepsis is caused when the immune system overreacts to infection and it spreads quickly throughout the body leaving to the an over-reaction by the body’s immune system.

This in turn leads to catastrophic effects such as septic shock, multiple organ failure and death. However, if detected quickly enough its spread can be halted by antibiotics.

The Public Petitions Committee had previously recommended a national awareness campaign as ‘appropriate’ and asked the government if it would take the plans forward.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs, who has written to Ms Robison asking her to look again at her decision not to proceed with a campaign, added: “Campaigners are understandably angry and frustrated, and I agree with them that this is a significant mistake.

“The SNP should reconsider this as a matter of urgency.

“Given that early identification is critical in order to allow for treatment, it seems logical that more action is needed to educate and inform the public about sepsis and its symptoms.

“A national awareness campaign would be an appropriate way of doing this.”

Ms Robison said far too many people are still unaware of the dangers of Sepsis and were “unnecessarily” dying due to lack of early detection.

But she said the health service had made ‘huge progress’ towards cutting levels of deaths connected to sepsis by 21 per cent since the year in which Dr Agnew died.

The Health Secretary added: “There is a lot of work going on to ensure that the ‘golden hour’ of treatment is taken.”

Sepsis kills more than 40,000 UK-wide.