NHS pay out millions as doctors fail to spot deadly blood clots
- AuthorJudith Thomas-Whittingham
New figures show that the NHS has spent £112m since 2005 compensating patients who have suffered preventable blood clots.
The figures, uncovered by thrombosis charity Lifeblood, reveal the amount that has been paid out to patients and their families as a result of doctors failing to screen for the condition or give appropriate treatment.
In early 2010, national guidelines were introduced which state that all patients admitted to hospital should be screened for their risk of thrombosis. However, according to Lifeblood, just 30 of the 159 hospital trusts in England meet the mandatory goal of risk-assessing at least 90% of patients admitted to hospital. This means that around 4.5 million patients a year miss out on assessments that could prevent clots and potentially save lives.
Blood clots currently kill an estimated 25,000 patients admitted to NHS wards in England every year. However, a number of these deaths could be avoided if appropriate treatment was provided.
Lifeblood claim that, unless doctors adhere to the guidelines, compensation claims for the period 2005-2015 could exceed £250 million.
Simple measures such as providing high-risk patients with compression stockings and blood-thinning drugs can reduce the risk of clots.
The head of Lifeblood, Professor Beverley Hunt, warned: "The NHS has some excellent new thrombosis prevention guidelines in place but if hospitals don't take urgent action to meet these mandatory prevention goals, then patients will increasingly turn to the courts for compensation."
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: "We are committed to doing something about this issue, to reduce the suffering of thousands of people and to save many lives. This is not complicated. I expect organisations to assess every patient for their individual risk of getting a blood clot, and then to provide the appropriate prevention.”
If you believe that you have received treatment below a reasonable standard then we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to advise you further. Call us for free initial advice on 0844 245 6602.
By clinical negligence specialist, Katie Nolan