Please login or register to print this page.

Clinical Articles, News & Views

Royal colleges advise professions of cost-effective prevention for VTE

The four professions (Royal College of Physicians, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing and Royal Pharmaceutical Society) have come together to review the evidence for prevention of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE), and advise their members to follow NICE recommendations on risk assessment and prevention for VTE.

The current NICE guidance provides the most clinically- and cost-effective measures for VTE prophylaxis in patients at risk of VTE in hospitals, and 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 1,000 per week – were diagnosed with blood clots in their legs or lungs.

RCP president Sir Richard Thompson welcomed the guidelines, saying:

“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”.

Jane Munro, quality and audit development advisor, Royal College of Midwives said: “Venous thromboembolism is 10 times more common in pregnant than in non- pregnant women of a similar age and is a leading direct cause of maternal mortality in the UK.  We have known for some time that there should be wider use of prophylaxis  and better recognition and investigation of classic symptoms,  we are therefore very pleased to be collaborating on raising  awareness of the importance of risk assessment and the effective preventative treatment available”.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chair of the Academy said: “VTE remains a huge issue and is a major cause of death of in hospitals. It is vital that all clinical staff are following the most up to date and effective clinical practice to tackle VTE. That is why we have reviewed that advice previously produced on behalf of the professional bodies representing the professions of medicine, nursing, midwifery and pharmacy. The Academy continues to support its members and other professional bodies in recommending and bringing to the attention of their members and fellows the best possible ways to deal with VTE. In light of recent studies we remain certain that the NICE guidelines are the most appropriate to follow”.

Sharron Millen, pharmacist and spokesperson for VTE for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “Pharmacists have a key role in supporting the VTE agenda as part of a multidisciplinary team. One of the key skills a pharmacist holds is an ability to assess complex evidence and make a pragmatic judgment on balance of the evidence presented. This skill remains fundamental within the VTE agenda based on the publication of the LIFENOX trial. The evidence to support the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis in at risk patients has not changed. Pharmacists need to continue to ensure that routine risk assessment is embedded in clinical practice and appropriate prescribing follows”.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Any avoidable death is an individual tragedy and a failing for the health service as a whole. Venous thromboembolisms, or blood clots, can affect anybody, but this guidance shows that we do have the knowledge and skills to identify those at risk and work to prevent them. The challenge now is to prevent them every time. Nurses have innovated and tackled this challenge head-on in recent years, and will welcome the opportunity to work with other professions to ensure that the best practice happens everywhere. By working together, the professions should be able to drastically reduce or even eradicate this distressing, preventable condition”.

Published on: September 27, 2012

Members Area

Log in or Register now.



Subscribe to our RSS feed


Sign up for our regular email newsletters & be the first to know about fresh articles and site updates.


    None Found


  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

You are not logged in

You need to be a member to print this page.
Sign up for free membership, or log in.

You are not logged in

You need to be a member to download PDF's.
Sign up for free membership, or log in.