NHS 'Leading In Blood Clots Prevention'

The NHS is leading the way with its system of monitoring patients’ risk of forming blood clots while in hospital and ensuring appropriate prevention measures, Health Minister Lord Howe has said.

Speaking at a meeting hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Thrombosis Group, the Clinical Leadership Summit on blood clots (venous thromboembolism), the minister spoke out about the need to prevent needless death and disability for patients in the NHS.

Every year, an estimated 25,000 people in England die from these clots in hospital. The blood clots form in the veins deep in the leg, usually in the calf and the majority of deaths in hospital are caused by part of the clot 'breaking off', travelling around the body and eventually lodging in the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism. The condition is largely preventable - requiring a simple risk assessment to be carried out by NHS staff followed by appropriate prevention in line with NICE guidance.

Speaking at the Summit, Lord Howe said: "It is within our gift to do something about these clots, to reduce the suffering of thousands of people and to save a great many lives. The NHS has made a tremendous start in improving this, and those making the biggest difference are those on the front-line - the junior doctors, nurses, pharmacists and GPs - who can work together to prevent needless suffering of patients.

"Their progress is a reflection of what we want to achieve across the NHS - clinical leadership and transparency.

"The aim of the system is to see that every patient admitted to hospital has had a risk assessment and appropriate prevention. While the NHS still has some work to do to achieve this, the initial results are impressive - the numbers of hospitals achieving the target of 90 per cent of patients assessed virtually trebled between July and December, from 18 to 53.

"The NHS in England is the only health system in the world to implement such a comprehensive system at a national level."


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