Dozens of fake degree certificate websites have been shut down as part of a major crackdown on fraudulent university awards.It comes as the head of an investigatory body warns of the danger of “degree selfies”.Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) has identified 220 bogus higher education institutions universities which sell fake degree certificates and non-existent courses.Jayne Rowley, deputy chief executive of Prospects, said they are particularly concerned by what she termed the “Twitter selfie problem”. Graduates at Birmingham University line up for their group photograph to be takenCredit:Andrew Fox Student receives degree at Newcastle UniversityCredit:Newcastle University Any potentially illegal activity is referred on to Trading Standards or the police, if it is based in the UK. For overseas outfits, Hedd alerts the relevant authority in that particular country.Ms Rowley said: “Some are copycat websites, where they have a similar name to an existing universities, like Cambridgeshire University or Manchester Open University.“Some advertise ‘distance learning’ courses and send fake coursework assignments by email. People are being conned out of thousands, thinking they are actually studying.”While fake university sites in the UK tend to be individuals running them out of their homes, there are far more sophisticated operations overseas and in some cases are multi-million pound businesses.Last year a company based in Pakistan was shut down after allegedly making millions of pounds from selling fake university degrees. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “This plays into the hands of fraudsters,” Ms Rowley told The Telegraph. “If someone wants to copy the certificate, they will be able to tell what colour the certificate is, what it looks like, the Vice Chancellor’s signature and so on.”“In the summer we spent a lot of time contacting universities to tell students not to pose with their certificates and then put the pictures of social media.”Hedd, which was has received funding from the Department for Education since June 2015 to monitor and investigate potentially fraudulent operations, has so far been responsible for 40 bogus websites being shut down.
“With over 70% of sepsis cases coming from the community, the guideline for GPs and paramedics to deliver potentially lifesaving antibiotics en route to the hospital is key to treating sepsis early.”The speed in which sepsis takes over the body – 36 hours in William’s case – is frightening.”Mr Hunt said the health service was undertaking a “relentless drive” to raise awareness of the condition.“Every death from sepsis is a tragedy, yet too often the warning signs are missed,” he said.“We need to get far better at spotting sepsis across the NHS and this advice shows how vital it is for clinicians to treat life-threatening symptoms as soon as possible.” The update in guidance follows a string of scandals where doctors and nurses failed to react to signs of sepsis, when the body overreacts to an infection and goes into shock, until it was too late.Last year NICE urged staff to treat signs of the condition with the same urgency as they would potential symptoms of a heart attack.But in an indication that clinical standards have not yet sufficiently improved, NICE is now mandating a 60-minute window by which staff must begin to act.A 2015 report revealed that 40 per cent of people admitted to A&E with sepsis were not given a timely review by a senior clinician.It also highlighted avoidable delays in administering antibiotics in more than a quarter of cases.Last night the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the warning signs were still too often being missed, and the NHS needed to improve its treatment of the condition. NHS doctors repeatedly failed to spot he had sepsis, while workers on the 111 helpline mishandled a call from his mother Melissa.Another child, three-year-old Sam Morrish, from Devon, also died from sepsis in December 2010.He was also the victim of a catalogue of NHS errors.Call-handlers at NHS Direct failed to categorise Sam’s mother’s call as urgent, despite indications that his vomit contained blood.Even when hospital staff finally realised he was critically ill, they waited three hours before administering the antibiotics that could have saved his life.Mrs Mead said: “I am delighted that all clinical organisations are coming together to improve care for suspected and confirmed sepsis. William Mead died of sepsis after NHS errors in 2014Credit:PA NHS staff must begin treating patients suspected of having potentially lethal sepsis within one hour, the watchdog has said in a bid to crack down on avoidable deaths.The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence today says that anyone showing symptoms, such as increased temperature, heart rate and rashes, must be swiftly examined by a senior doctor and started on life-saving drugs. We need to get far better at spotting sepsis across the NHSJeremy Hunt Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The new guidance will not only apply to hospital staff, but also to GPs, who will be expected to start patients on antibiotics and intravenous fluids within an hour if they cannot be rushed to hospital.Professor Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive, said: “”Severe symptoms can develop in sepsis very quickly.“If high-risk patients are not identified and treated promptly, people can be left with debilitating problems.“In the worst cases, they may die.”The condition hit the headlines following the death of 12-month-old William Mead in December 2014.