Row brews as DoH rejects VTE blood clots deaths records

Healthcare Commission chair Sir Ian Kennedy has written to health secretary Alan Johnson to protest after the Department of Health rejected proposals aimed at reducing deadly blood clots.

The commission had called for trusts to be assessed against a new indicator relating to the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE).

It wanted the new measure to be included in annual reviews to be carried out by new regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

The idea was strongly supported by “key external stakeholders”, according to a report discussed at last week’s commissioners’ meeting. But the report states: “The DH has unfortunately rejected this proposal as not being a national priority.”

At the meeting, Sir Ian said: “I find this at best disquieting. We have made safety our highest priority.” He added: “I don’t see how we can… not make a point about something which is a very significant hazard to a large number of people in hospital.”

Serious dangers

Commissioner David Haslam, who is also the president of the Royal College of GPs, said the condition was responsible for far “more deaths than healthcare associated infections multiplied”.

He said he approved of Sir Ian writing to Mr Johnson expressing the commission’s concerns.

DH guidance issued last year provided trusts with a checklist to help identify susceptible patients. It followed HSJ findings revealing that more than half of trusts were ignoring calls by the chief medical officer to carry out checks aimed at prevention.

A 2005 health select committee report said 25,000 people died from venous thromboembolism contracted in hospitals each year. Please see Health Direct’s post below.

Commission chief executive Anna Walker said she understood the DH did not want another scored indicator on venous thromboembolism but further work was being discussed.

Heath Direct thinks that it is disgraceful that the DoH does not want to accurately record the thousands of NHS deaths of VTE.

On October 31, 2006 Health Direct posted : NHS patient safety ‘must improve’ says Healthcare Commission

More needs to be done to improve standards of safety in the NHS and independent sector, a watchdog says. The Healthcare Commission said that while most patients received safe care, standards were inconsistent in England and Wales.

The watchdog said there was no clear indication on the number of deaths that could be avoided. It also raised concerns about a range of other areas, including mental health care and health inequalities.

The annual State of Healthcare report draws on data from surveys, focus groups and inspections.

“It’s frustrating that in 2006 we do not have a clearer idea of how many people die or are harmed when this could have been avoided” Sir Ian Kennedy, of the Healthcare Commission.

To illustrate his point, he said the National Audit Office could only estimate the number of deaths as a result of patient safety incidents ranged from 840 to 34,000.

And initially, on March 08, 2005 Health Direct posted: 25,000 die from preventable VTE

Each year over 25,000 people in England die from venous thromboembolism (VTE) contracted in hospital. 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. The figures are alarmingly high.

The catalogue of labour’s NHS failures also includes: November 29, 2007
One in 10 suffers hospital harm as blunders kill 90,000 patients

Accidents, errors and mishaps in hospital affect as many as one in 10 in-patients, claim researchers. The report in the journal Quality and Safety in Health Care said up to half of these were preventable. Checks on 1,000 cases in just one hospital found examples of fatal surgical errors, infections and drug complications.

So Health Direct asks- why is labour deliberately hiding all these NHS deaths?

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