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Litigation claims relating to venous thromboembolism in the NHS

Lookup NU author(s): Alex Nath, Professor Gerard Stansby


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Aim Litigation costs for clinical negligence in the management of venous thromboembolism have escalated in the last five years. The National Health Service Litigation Authority estimates these claims have cost in excess of 112 million. Our aim is to identify the areas of practice where these claims are most likely to arise to help improve patient outcome.Methods The National Health Service Litigation Authority provided de-identified data on individual medical negligence claims against the NHS since 2007. We subcategorised the data into (a) the nature of the venous thromboembolism event, (b) the area of specialist practice and (c) the damages incurred. Inter-group differences were evaluated using ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U Test.Results Failure to prevent and to diagnose pulmonary emboli and deep vein thrombosis occurs across the spectrum of clinical specialties. In the study period 189 claims were made. The majority of claims were in surgical specialties and the financial burden was significantly greater than in the medical specialities (3,257,394 pound vs. 1,532,996) pound. The amounts paid out by specialty was not significantly different but had significant variance (p<0.0001).Conclusions The National Institute of Clinical Excellence provides comprehensive guidelines on venous thromboembolism risk assessment. Poor compliance has contributed to morbidity and mortality while the cost has continued to escalate. A multimodal approach to education is needed to improve patient outcome. Improved venous thromboembolism prevalence data are also needed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): White V, Nath A, Stansby G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Phlebology

Year: 2015

Volume: 30

Issue: 6

Pages: 389-396

Print publication date: 01/07/2015

Online publication date: 28/05/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0268-3555

ISSN (electronic): 1758-1125

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0268355514537487


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