Inequitable VTE Risk Assessment of Hospitalised Patients

A venous thromboembolism (VTE), is a life-threatening condition. Blood clots can form anywhere in the body, left untreated, smaller clots can break off and travel through the blood stream most often to the lungs and cause a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (PE).

England has been a world leader in blood clot awareness, coming top in a recent awareness poll by the global organisation, World Thrombosis Day.

However, quarterly data published by NHS England has again shown a rise in the number of hospitals failing to meet required standards of VTE risk assessment rates. This is a deadly serious matter, compromising patient safety, patient outcomes and two of the key priorities in the current NHS – prevention and efficiency.

VTE is the number one cause of preventable deaths in hospital, and hospital acquired thrombosis (HAT) is the number one cause of VTE whilst in hospital and for up to 90 days after discharge.

Following the mandating of VTE risk assessment for all hospital admissions in 2010, hospital acquired thrombosis events across England reduced by a staggering 8%, one of the single most effective actions to safe-guard patients from avoidable harm and fatality.

Since formally mandated, the benefits to patient safety from VTE risk assessment have been phenomenal and made NHS England a leader in VTE prevention.

Patient safety is a national priority – VTE risk assessment is a central part of this. In Trusts and hospital centres where repeated failing to achieve acceptable levels of compliance has become routine, patient safety, patient outcomes and NHS burden are being compromised.

Trusts failing to achieve the 95% standard levels need to take immediate and urgent action to ensure VTE risk assessment is a routine part of hospital practice.

We all need to understand that thrombosis is a life-threatening condition, and VTE risk assessment for all hospital admissions, saves lives.

  • Prevent VTE – risk assess everyone being admitted into hospital, whilst there and at discharge
  • Think Thrombosis – VTE can affect anyone, assess their risks
  • Prevent VTE - saves lives, suffering, burden and cost to the NHS

Read: patients at risk as blood clot assessments decline, HSJ, 8th May 2018 – by Shaun Lintern