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NICE asks for views on VTE care benchmark

A consultation has been launched on developing a care quality standard for the management of venous thromboembolic in the NHS in England.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has drawn up a draft version of the standard, which is intended to define a set of benchmarks for high quality VTE care. It is one of a range of similar standards for other conditions being developed as part of the new NHS Outcomes Framework.

The draft quality standard contains six statements for the care of suspected or confirmed VTE patients, including ensuring all diagnostic investigations are completed within 24 hours of first clinical suspicion.

It also states that patients with suspected deep vein thrombosis – where diagnostic investigations take longer than four hours from first suspicion – are offered interim therapeutic dose anticoagulation therapy.

For those with suspected pulmonary embolism, the draft standard states they should be offered interim therapeutic dose anticoagulation therapy where diagnostic investigations take longer than one hour.

In addition, it states that people with unprovoked VTE diseases should be offered investigations for cancer.

NICE deputy chief executive Gillian Leng said thousands of patients still died every year in the UK from VTE, many of them “unnecessarily”, despite its prevention already being an NHS priority.

She said the quality standard would “contribute to improving the diagnosis and treatment of people with a DVT or PE by providing a focus on key elements of quality improvement”.

The deadline for comments is 31 October. The final version of the VTE standard is expected to be published in April 2013.

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