DVT Screening Concerns ‘Must Not Go Unnoticed’

Expert Welcomes New Calls For Trusts To Improve Standards

13.07.2011

A reaction is needed to new concerns raised over the failure of a number of hospitals in England to screen patients for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell has claimed.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS, has claimed that less than 50 per cent of hospitals are meeting guidelines which call for them to screen nine out of ten patients for the condition, despite figures suggesting that up to 25,000 people die from DVT acquired while in hospital.

He has threatened that the worst-performing hospitals will be named and shamed over their failure to meet targets if standards do not improve, describing current problems to the BBC as “absolutely disgraceful”.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner and specialist in medical negligence at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said NHS Trusts simply cannot ignore the issue.

She explained: “We act in a number of cases where hospital patients have suffered as a result of negligence and the failure of health authorities to provide a duty of care in line with official guidelines.

“Regulations exist for a reason and it is deeply concerning to see so many hospitals apparently missing standard targets for screening patients for DVT – a condition which can undoubtedly have devastating consequences.

“While the threat of naming and shaming under-performing hospitals may be regarded as a shock tactic, it could be vital in ensuring that NHS Trusts are treating this issue – and, in turn, the safety of their patients – with the utmost seriousness.

“Lessons need to learnt from these new figures and the warning from Sir Bruce and it is vital health bodies provide reassurances that they are doing everything they can to protect patients from the dangers of DVT.”