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Blood clot care 'failing'

10th May 2011

Information released by the NHS Litigation Authority has shown that failure by medics to spot blood clots is costing the health service millions of pounds.

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The data showed that the fact that doctors were not identifying blood clots had cost the NHS £112 million in legal costs since 2005.

Guidance released at the beginning of 2010 said everyone admitted to hospital should undergo screening to determine their risks of blood clots.

The charity Lifeblood said hospitals should sit up and take notice of the figures. It has calculated that claims for 2005-2015 could reach in excess of £250 million.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) causes the deaths of an estimated 25,000 people admitted to health service hospitals every year.

However, many deaths could be prevented if the correct treatment was performed in hospitals.

Lifeblood looked at Department of Health data and found only 30 of the UK's 159 hospital trusts were meeting the requirement to carry out VTE risk-assessments on 90% of patients admitted to hospital.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: "We are committed to doing something about this issue, to reduce the suffering of thousands of people and to save many lives."

"This is not complicated. I expect organisations to assess every patient for their individual risk of getting a blood clot, and then to provide the appropriate prevention."

 

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