National Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prevention Programme helping to save lives

NHS England’s national prevention programme aimed at improving outcomes for patients who develop hospital associated Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) has been shown to save lives in the results of a study undertaken at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Blood clots or VTE can commonly follow hospitalisation and cause thousands of deaths each year in the UK, making prevention a key patient safety priority for hospitals.

The National VTE Prevention Programme led by Dr Mike Durkin, Director of Patient Safety for NHS England, aims to ensure that all adult patients admitted to hospital are risk assessed for VTE and given appropriate preventative treatment in line with national guidelines .

Implementation of the national programme at King’s resulted in 20% fewer hospital-associated blood clots and a 40% reduction in events related to inadequate preventative treatment. This is the first published outcomes data relating to the National VTE Prevention Programme and illustrates how a systematic approach to prevention can reduce VTE and benefit patient safety.

Speaking about the study, Dr Mike Durkin said: “The introduction of a system-wide approach to VTE prevention in England has been a huge step in making our hospitals a safer place for patients. It is all the more important that we are now demonstrating through this study at King’s that this hard work has improved outcomes.”

Professor Roopen Arya, Clinical Lead for the National VTE Prevention Programme, who led the work at King’s College Hospital, said: “This has been one of the biggest quality and safety improvement initiatives I have witnessed in the NHS and the huge achievement of colleagues across healthcare deserves acknowledgement.

“The latest national data shows that almost 95% of all patients are now known to be risk assessed for VTE on admission to hospitals. It is pleasing that we have been able to show this has resulted in improved outcomes for patients and it is very important that we build on this and develop a national registry of hospital-associated thrombosis so we can gather data from all hospitals as well as share the learning and improve practice.”


  1. Thomas says:

    Saving lives? That isn’t reported in this press release. 20% reduction in hospital associated blood clots (define) and 40% reduction in ‘events related to inadequate preventative treatment’ (again, undefined). Nothing on deaths from VTE (or even all cause mortality) or on costs.

    • NHS England says:

      Thank you for your comment.
      The aim of the national VTE prevention programme is to reduce hospital-related blood clots and deaths. The headline of the article sought to distil these outcomes. The King’s group did find a reduction of deaths due to hospital-associated thrombosis but the main statistically significant finding in their paper was the reduction in hospital-associated blood clots linked to a reduction of inadequate thromboprophylaxis. For more details and definitions, we would refer you to the paper in Chest.

      We are grateful for your feedback and, upon review, the headline will be changed to reflect this: “National Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prevention Programme helping to reduce hospital-related blood clots.