UK Hospital Patients Assessed For Risk Of Blood Clots

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Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, announced today the publication of a risk assessment for venous thromboembolism, recommended for all patients admitted to hospital in England.

Venous thromboembolism in hospitalised patients is responsible for around 25,000 deaths in England each year. The risk assessment being published today will be provided to hospitals along with guidance to help them identify patients at risk of developing venous thromboembolism.

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Sir Liam said: "The dangers of venous thromboembolism in hospitalised patients have long been recognised, but our challenge was to find a systematic approach to identify patients most at risk.

"Creating a standardised national preventive strategy on this scale is a world first. We anticipate that, by hospitals implementing risk assessment for all patients admitted to hospital, we can make the goal of reducing death from venous thromboembolism more attainable. This simple step has the potential to save thousands of lives each year."

In 2005 Sir Liam established an independent expert working group to look at how current best practice and guidance on venous thromboembolism could be promoted and implemented. Following publication of the group's report and recommendations, an implementation working group was established to develop a risk assessment and raise awareness of venous thromboembolism throughout the NHS.

The risk assessment will be available for use by all hospitals and has the potential to prevent many avoidable deaths. It was developed with key stakeholders, including the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE's supporting guidelines for all hospitalised patients are scheduled to be published in autumn 2009.

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