Blood clot screening improves following NICE guidance
More than 90 per cent of patients are now being screened for their risk of developing blood clots following the launch of NICE guidelines on venous thromboembolism (VTE), latest figures reveal.
The Department of Health launched a programme later in the year making prevention a clinical priority for the NHS. The programme put a measure in place to make sure every patient is risk assessed for VTE who needs it.
Figures from the Department of Health show that since the national measure was introduced, patients are more than twice as likely to be risk assessment for VTE.
More than 14.3 million patients have been risk assessed for the condition since the measure was put in place, and an estimated 230,000 patients are now being screened per week.
An estimated 25,000 patients admitted to hospital die each year from preventable VTE, a condition where a blood clot formed in a vein travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.
Colchester Hospital is among the hospitals that are conducting VTE risk assessments. It is the fifth trust to have been recognised by the Chief Medical Officer's VTE Implementation Working Group as an ‘exemplar centre' for its work in preventing VTE.
The hospital has put a number of initiatives in place to prevent VTE. This includes developing an online risk assessment tool offering doctors and nurses training on choosing the appropriate preventative treatment, known as prophylaxis, for individual patients.
Dr Gordon Coutts, Chief Executive at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It has been great to be able to show the impact of our work on VTE, with 94 per cent of our patients being screened.
“This is an important part of our patient safety agenda and is an area where we continue to enjoy considerable success.”
Marion Wood, Consultant Haematologist and co-Chair of Colchester Hospital Board, added: “Patients should feel reassured that in the UK we're taking the risk of VTE very seriously. We are preventing not just death but the long-term harm that a blood clot causes.
“NICE's guidance stimulated us to do the work that we've been doing since the early 90s in looking at VTE prevention.
“The NICE guidelines meant we were able to speed up risk assessment and led to a higher percentage of patients being risk assessed.”
She continued: “Prophylaxis should be tailored to individual patient. Our online system gives us the opportunity to do that. The programme helps calculate appropriate treatment for the patient based on individual risk.”
The Royal College of Nurses has also been carrying out work to help prevent VTE among patients.
It has developed an online learning module which encourages nursing staff to assess patients for risk of VTE, to educate them about prevention, and to increase the number of nurses correctly fitting preventative devices such as anti-embolism stockings.
The module was submitted as an example for the NICE 2012 Shared Learning Awards, which will take place at the NICE annual conference in Birmingham on 15-16 May.
5 March 2012