Drop In Blot Clot Assessments – NHS Patients At Risk


The Law Of…Declining VTE Assessment Numbers

Following an apparent drop in blood clot assessments, patients are now at greater risk of developing lethal blood clots in numerous hospitals across England. Aside from the potential loss of life and long-term disability to patients, this negligence could cost the NHS upwards of £200 million to treat all the cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) which is a deadly type of blood clot that usually develops in the leg.

Sarah Holdsworth, Medical Negligence Associate, explains the problem.

Blood Clots Left Unchecked

Risk assessment numbers for blood clots have declined in England, leaving NHS patients at risk of venous thromboembolism. These blood clots, if left untreated, can pass through the body to the brain or lungs. The result can be severe disability for the patient, or even death.

The decline in assessments is quantified by a 1 percent drop in England, which may not sound substantial, but in terms of people this equates to tens of thousands of hospital patients. Out of 3.7 million inpatients admitted in the third quarter of the 2017-18 period, 200,000 were not routinely assessed for blood clots.

NHS performance data based on 150 hospitals – for the period of January 2016 to December 2017 – demonstrates that on three occasions in 2017, hospitals dropped below their target of seeing 95 percent of all inpatients be screened for the risk of blood clots. One in a thousand people will suffer from VTE every year, with 60 percent of cases being linked to the hospital admissions process.

"Disappointed, Dismayed And Worried"

On this drop in blood clot assessments, the medical director of Thrombosis UK, Beverley Hunt, said that she was “disappointed, dismayed and worried” regarding the drop in standards from health care services.

Mrs Hunt also went onto say that she was "very concerned that we aren’t preventing deaths due to VTE as well as we could do. We have to sit up and take notice.”

Aside from being medical director at the charity, Beverley Hunt is also a consultant haematologist, and served as a prominent figure in VTE awareness 15 years ago.

This drop in assessment standards has been identified as a serious issue by the NHS, and is currently being discussed at quality meetings.

£200 Million In Costs

While patient safety is the premier issue with the drop in blood clot assessments, there is also an issue of cost. Following a survey on Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) by The All Party Parliamentary Thrombosis Group, it was estimated that the NHS would face a national cost of £200 million to treat all the potential cases of VTE.

The survey showed some variation between CCGs, with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough reporting estimated costs of over £7 million, whereas South Lincolnshire only reported a cost of £63,358.

NHS Resolution, the non-profit litigating authority within the NHS, has also identified that the drop in assessments is likely to increase the number of VTE medical negligence claims filed against the healthcare service. Anyone considering claiming should contact a Medical Negligence solicitor before proceeding.

Sarah Comments:

It is extremely worrying to hear this recent data and that patient safety is being compromised due to failings in routine simple assessments being carried out.  Patients may find themselves in a situation where they go into hospital with one problem and come out with another. Patient safety is paramount and such failings may have left numerous patients without the appropriate treatment, which can lead to devastating injuries.”

Have You Suffered From The Decline In VTE Assessments?

If you have suffered from VTE, or any blood clot related illness that could have been avoided, make sure to contact a specialist Medical Negligence solicitor immediately.

Our solicitors can talk you through the claims process, and what your rights and options are. Contact us today on our freephone number, or by sending a secure E-message via our online enquiry form.

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