Blood clots cost the NHS £570,000 a day

UK hospitals are treating 283 patients a day for blood clots costing the NHS almost £200 million a year, new research has revealed.

Exclusive figures obtained by RBR Active ahead of national Thrombosis Awareness Week show 34,515 people attended 69 hospital trusts between January 2018 and January 2019 suffering from deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism at a cost of £66 million.

The statistics represent a third of the overall picture with 226 trusts in total approached under the Freedom of Information Act.

Paul Westerman, founder of RBR Active which campaigns to raise awareness of these conditions, said the shock statistics should push the government into action.

“Blood clots kill more people each year than AIDs, breast cancer, prostate cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined,” he said. “But they are entirely preventable.

“What’s more, they put a huge financial pressure on the NHS which we all know is struggling.

“The government should be backing vital research and product development and looking into raising awareness which would save our health service a huge amount of money that could be reinvested.”

The 51-year-old set up RBR Active in 2018 after he almost died when a DVT he sustained in his lower limb after a tennis injury travelled through his heart to his lungs, causing a massive PE.

Since his illness he has worked as a trustee for Thrombosis UK, become an appointed member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in its examination of thromboembolic diseases, and helped launch a product designed to encourage simple leg exercises to drastically reduce the risk of blood clot in the lower limbs.

He said: “Our research has revealed that it costs an average of £2,000 to treat each patient with a blood clot and that 283 patients are presenting at hospitals around the UK on a daily basis. That’s £570,000 a day being spent on a condition you can prevent.”

A total of 226 hospital trusts around the UK were asked to provide figures for patients presenting with blood clots and how much money was spent on their treatment. Of those, 69 responded with 34,515 people treated at a cost of £65,913,637 – suggesting the national picture would be approximately 103,000 patients at a cost of £198 million.

The hospital trust treating the most patients this year was Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust with 2,052 patients followed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust with 1,643 and Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with 1,344.

Top of the table for cost was University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust with £8.46 million followed by University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust with £4.46 million and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with £3.32 million.

According to previous studies, every six seconds someone dies as a result of thrombosis.

Mr Westerman said: “I nearly died from something that could have been prevented. If this was something that I knew more about, it could have been avoided.”

Earlier this year he launched #SeekHELP to warn others who experience Heat, Excessive redness, Localised swelling or Pain to get urgent medical attention.

The drive echoes the highly successful campaign Act FAST which was launched by Public Health England and educated the public on signs of a stroke.