Every year, an estimated 20,000 people in the UK would die from a thrombosis contracted in hospital (hospital acquired thrombosis) if thrombosis prevention is not given.

Through promoting awareness to both public and health care professionals Thrombosis UK aims for a clearer understanding of the risk of thrombosis throughout the UK with appropriate VTE assessments being carried out and where possible prevention of thrombosis rather than management.

Since 2010, Thrombosis UK has worked with supporters and NHS Scotland to increase awareness on the burden of VTE across Scottish Health Boards.

2010 – Thrombosis UK (then known as Life Blood) held a round table meeting in the Scottish Parliament hosted by Trish Godman MPS. A report from the meeting, Venous Thromboembolism Challenge in Scotland, A report into VTE prevention in Scottish Health Boards, with recommendations to improve VTE risk assessment and prevention across Scotland was sent to NHS Scotland.

Thrombosis UK continues to work with Scottish healthcare professionals and supporters to improve the prevention and management of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Scotland. In 2016 an updated report of findings from Freedom of Information requests was shared with NHS Scotland.

In 2017, NHS Borders published findings from their two year study on prevention of VTE in hospital settings, and presented this at Thrombosis UK All Scotland National Thrombosis Conference in may 2017

2018, Thrombosis UK wrote to representatives of NHS Scotland to request SIGN Guidance 122 be reviewed and updated in light of data evidencing that VTE risk assessment and prevention had not been effectively embedded in Scottish healthcare systems. Thrombosis UK called for NHS Scotland to support implementation of VTE risk assessment and appropriate management across all Scottish Health Boards as recommended in NHS Borders review, 2017.

NHS Borders project (2017) made the following recommendations:

  1. Visible clinical and organisational leadership is required to support improvement in VTE prophylaxis. Leadership walk rounds can be a vehicle for this.
  2. Staff involved in delivery of thromboprophylaxis should be consulted to better understand the barriers to reliability.
  3. Learning generated from this consultation should inform any redesign of risk assessment tools and processes to improve reliable delivery.
  4. Data collection should focus on the delivery of risk assessment and correct thromboprophylaxis to improve understanding of levels of under and over dosing.
  5. Data on reliable delivery of risk assessment and correct thromboprophylaxis should be shared with clinical teams to understand the impact of their changes.
  6. Structured ward rounds that includes prompts for VTE prophylaxis should be established.
  7. People being admitted to hospital should have information on risks and benefits of thromboprophylaxis.
  8. Induction programmes for junior doctors should include a permanent slot for VTE education. The education programme should include the VTE risk assessment documentation, correct prophylaxis prescribing and the ward round prompt.
  9. Opportunities for VTE education, support and advice should be offered to nursing teams.
  10. Organisational VTE policies should reflect SIGN 122 and clarify roles and responsibilities in VTE prophylaxis.

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Thrombosis UK continues to strive to work with NHS Scotland to support all effective learning and implementation of risk assessment tools to reduce the burden of VTE across Scotland and ensure patient safety is paramount.