Shocking statistics show that the NHS has forked out £112 million in medical negligence compensation in the last five years because doctors have not spotted deadly blood clots.
Figures from the NHS Litigation Authority reveal failure of behalf of staff to screen for blood clots or give the correct medication has led to a yearly increase in the amount of compensation paid.
The health watchdog claims that in excess of 10,000 lives were lost last year due to people not being screened for clots when they were admitted to hospital. Every year, an estimated 25,000 NHS hospital patients in England die from the complaint.
In 2010, more than £26 million was paid out after people submitted personal injury claims for blood clot related problems. Lifeblood, the thrombosis charity, has estimated that the period between 2005 and 2015 could result in payouts of more than 250 million.
Deep vein thrombosis is a problem that can affect people of any age. Serena Williams, the tennis ace, was recently diagnosed with a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism. Although we associate the problem with air travel, people are at much greater risk when they have been lying immobile in a hospital bed.
In January 2010, health watchdog NICE laid down guidelines on DVT checks and said that 90% of adult hospital admissions should be assessed. NHS Trusts were warned that they could be fined if they did not meet the new targets and yet new figures suggest that only 30 out of 159 hospital trusts are in fact carrying out the recommended screening procedures.
In the wake of the government’s austerity measures, the NHS should be striving to cut down on the amount spent on medical negligence cases. Surely screening and treating patients at risk with inexpensive blood thinning drugs has to be a better solution than facing medical negligence solicitors in court.