Learning from venous thromboembolisms

Date published:

From 1 April 2012 until 31 March 2022 we documented 687 closed claims relating to venous thromboembolism (VTE) injuries. Of these, 411 claims were settled with damages paid costing the NHS over £23 million.

VTE is an umbrella term for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. 1 in 20 people will have a VTE at some time in their life and the risk increases with age.

VTE is a significant cause of mortality, long-term disability and long-lasting ill-health problems – many of which are avoidable.

What actions can you as a clinician take?

  • Create a collaborative clinician-patient relationship by encouraging the patient to vocalise their concerns, take a detailed clinical history and consider use of digital text or app facility to provide patients with advice and safety netting access to recall safety netting information;
  • Record the pre-test probability of VTE in the patient notes;
  • Use of VTE risk assessment tools;
  • Attend multidisciplinary training programmes with a focus on reducing diagnostic error; and
  • Implement existing national guidelines and recommendations.

Our newly created venous thromboembolisms resource details how clinicians can take preventative action to improve outcomes for patients at risk of VTE.

The purpose of our resources is to help drive improvements in patient safety and a reduction in claims. The ‘Did you know’ resource series hone in on particular themes and trends in the claims data in more detail and identify ways of preventing fewer incidents like these occurring in the future. We’ve published Did you know? digital resources on a range of topics including:

These are all available on our resources page.