Hundreds of thousands miss vital tests

As many as 360,000 patients admitted to hospital every year are missing out on blood clot rsi assessments that could save lives, according to a charity’s figures.

Lifeblood, the thrombosis charity says Newham University Hospital NHS Trust is the worst performing Trust in London when it comes to carrying out risk assessments for developing thrombosis (blood clots) for patients admitted to hospital.

However bosses at the Trust have defended its position saying staff have been carrying out the assessments but without recording them all.

Dr Mike Gill, Medical Director of the Trust, said: “Following the introduction of the formal risk assessment tool for Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) in 2010 the Trust has been working towards meeting these requirements. During this time period, the Trust has been assessing and prescribing medication (mainly low molecular weight heparin) where appropriate but not always recording the formal risk assessment.”

He said the Trust was committed to improving its performance this and had introduced an electronic assessment form.

It will also introducednew medication charts in July, which require evidence of patient assessment.

He said he and the Haematology Consultant have taken the lead on ensuring NUHT can demonstrate itscommitment to making sure staff complied with the target.

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Lifeblood analysed figures published by the Department of Health, and said that of 116,731 people admitted to Newham University Hospital in a three-month period, only 27,104 were assessed. This means the Trust carried out risk assessments on just 13.3 per cent of its in-patients. The national average is 68 per cent while the government last year introduced new rules requiring all hospital Trusts to risk assess a minimum of 90 per cent in-patients.

The figures for Newham mean there were nearly 90,000 hospital in-patients who were not assessed for their risk of developing blood clots - nearly 360,000 over the course of a year. The figures also place the Trust in the bottom ten nationally, out of a total of 163 in England.

Lifeblood says the condition is the country’s number one hospital killer.

A spokeswoman for the charity said blood clots are the number one greatest cause of preventable hospital deaths and are the immediate cause of death in 10 per cent of all patients who die in hospital or within three months of being sent home.