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NICE VTE guidance – ‘best policy’

Professions come together to review VTE advice

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 21 September 2012

Doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists have come together to review the evidence for the prevention of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE), and will advise their members to follow NICE recommendations.

The Royal College of Physicians, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing and Royal Pharmaceutical Society have this week stated that the current NICE guidance on VTE provides the most clinically- and cost-effective measures for VTE prophylaxis in patients at risk of VTE in hospitals. In addition the RCP says compliance with this best practice for VTE makes financial sense for the NHS, which is under pressure to reduce costs.

The statement is a response to calls for consideration of VTE prophylaxis for medical patients and finds that there is significant support for the prevention methods currently in use ‒ risk assessment of patients for VTE and administering of preventative treatment for those found at risk of VTE.

House of Commons Health Select Committee figures estimate that 25,000 avoidable deaths occur every year in the UK from hospital-acquired VTE. Recent Hospital Episodes Statistics data for 2010‒2011 found that over 56,000 people ‒ around 1000 per week ‒ were diagnosed with blood clots in their legs or lungs.

RCP president Sir Richard Thompson welcomed the guidelines:

“At present, the great majority of, but not all, patients at risk are screened for VTE. We must be vigilant in ensuring that all patients are screened. Screening should be a routine part of practice, and robust systems put into a place at every hospital so that patients at risk of VTE do not slip through the net,” he said.

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