THE number of patients who die of blood clots in Scotland’s hospitals has shot up by a third in the past decade. Although the figures fluctuate from one year to another, the latest full stats show there were 380 more deaths in 2017 than in 2008, marking a 30 per cent increase.
Only three health boards, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Forth Valley and NHS Shetland, have seen a decrease in the number of venous thromboembolism (VTE) related deaths. Over the same time period, admissions with a diagnosis of VTE rose from 6,624 to 8,371. Although it is well known people in acute hospitals are at higher risk of developing the potentially deadly condition because of immobility and dehydration, medical staff are still struggling to identify and prevent the condition from taking hold.
A two-year project by the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) into VTE across the 14 NHS areas unveiled various challenges in tackling the issue, quoting a “lack of drive” from the clinical community, a lower profile of VTE than in conditions such as sepsis and a “lack of good evidence base” or “belief” in the evidence for interventions.
Last night Gordon McPherson, whose 23-year-old daughter Katie died of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in 2003, said treating VTE, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (PE) cost the NHS in Scotland tens of millions of pounds every year.