A partnership working group between the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has been set up to focus the NHS on implementing the venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention strategy.

According to a Health Committee report from 2005, there are an estimated 25,000 deaths in England, from venous thromboembolism in hospitals.

This is more than the combined total of deaths from breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents and more than twenty five times the number who die from MRSA.

Over the last five years, since these alarming figures were published by the Health Select Committee, there has been considerable progress in VTE prevention. As part of this work, an independent expert working group appointed by the Chief Medical Officer and led by Dr Anita Thomas (now National Clinical Director for VTE), developed a blueprint for the VTE prevention strategy, identified as the most important safety practice included in the NHS Operating Framework 2010-2011.

The three professional bodies are calling upon NHS Trusts to commit to the VTE prevention initiative.

This includes:

- Risk assessment and appropriate thromboprophylaxis for all adult patients admitted to hospital
- Greater post discharge follow up in the community for patients
- Improvements in care by auditing patient outcomes
- Introducing effective multidisciplinary practice in the prevention of VTE

In collaboration with clinical experts the aim will be to implement safe, efficacious and cost effective method of preventing venous thrombosis across the NHS. To be successful, this move to minimise VTE needs to be owned by everyone involved in the NHS and led by those who are experts in the field.

There is a common understanding among healthcare professionals: doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the Department for Health, that long term disability, chronic ill health and the deaths caused by venous thromboembolism are largely preventable. The three professions - medicine, nursing and pharmacy - agree that there is more that can be done by joint working and sharing best practice among healthcare professions. The healthcare professionals share a great commitment to work together on innovative models and best practice of VTE prevention. NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said: "Sudden blood clots are the scourge of modern healthcare around the world. They strike at random killing over 25,000 people a year in our NHS and leave many others with varicose veins and swollen and ulcerated legs.

"This cannot go on. The healthcare professions have said enough is enough and are now actively working together to provide common leadership across the NHS."

The three professions have committed to work together in the future on other areas where a collaborative approach will lead to improvements in patient care.


The National VTE Prevention Programme includes measures to ensure that every adult patient has a documented VTE risk assessment on admission to hospital following the clinical risk assessment criteria reflecting the NICE guidance.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Royal College of Nursing
Academy of Royal Medical Colleges

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