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Posted 1 Oct 2014 in Surgery

Preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE) is part of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s ongoing Reducing Perioperative Harm programme. The Open for better care campaign promoted VTE risk assessments and appropriate intervention for all patients having surgery.

The risk of VTE increases ten-fold in patients admitted to hospital, with contributing factors including general ill health or comorbidities, reduced mobility, smoking, and poor fluid intake. Major surgical procedures (particularly orthopaedic and other high-risk surgeries) are further risk factors. However patients who had short or minor procedures have also developed fatal blood clots, so no patient is automatically excluded from risk of VTE.

In August the programme developed two posters to raise hospital staff awareness of the need for VTE assessment for all patients. These posters are available on the Open for better care website and can be ordered for use in all clinical areas.

Further activities and promotion are planned for World Thrombosis Day on 13 October – the Commission has signed up to be a partner in the worldwide efforts to raise awareness about and prevent VTE.

What’s next?
Blood clot posterWhile the Perioperative Harm period of the campaign has now come to a close, the programme work continues. The PoC pilot is due for completion in December 2014 and in early 2015 the Commission will release the results and hopes to work with the DHB reducing perioperative harm champions to develop a nation-wide approach to improving teamwork and communication in the theatre and the use of the briefing and debriefing on theatre lists and all three parts of the WHO surgical safety checklist for every operation.

For further information you can contact Gabrielle Nicholson, Senior Portfolio Manager, Reducing Perioperative Harm, on