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CMO launches tool to assess VTE risk in hospitals

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The government has published a risk assessment tool for venous thromboembolism (VTE) to help hospitals in England identify patients at risk of developing the condition.

The tool, along with supporting guidance, is intended to reduce the death-toll from VTE, which currently stands at around 25,000 inpatients per year.

Announcing the risk assessment last week, chief medical officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson said: ‘The dangers of VTE in hospitalised patients have long been recognised, but our challenge was to find a systematic approach to identify patients most at risk.

‘Creating a standardised national preventive strategy on this scale is a world first,’ he said. ‘We anticipate that, by hospitals implementing risk assessment for all patients admitted to hospital, we can make the goal of reducing death from VTE more attainable. This simple step has the potential to save thousands of lives each year.’

Professor Beverley Hunt, medical director of thrombosis charity Lifeblood, called on ministers to make use of the tool mandatory. ‘It is vital that all patients are risk assessed as VTE is often clinically silent and the patient may confuse their symptoms with less serious conditions,’ she said.

The risk assessment tool can be accessed by clicking here

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