Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE
Today sees the launch of the Ask about Clots campaign, which I believe will play a significant role in reducing the numbers of people dying as a result of thrombosis.The new campaign, developed by 1000 Lives Improvement, is encouraging patients and members of the public to ask healthcare professionals about their risk of developing a thrombosis. This is particularly important as new research indicates that 62% of people in Wales believe they are more likely to develop thrombosis on an aeroplane than in hospital. The reality is that the risk is a thousand times greater for hospital patients.
In Wales, it’s estimated that every year 1,250 people who receive hospital treatment could die from a thrombosis that developed during or shortly after their hospital stay. A large percentage of these thrombosis-related deaths are preventable.
We know that behind every statistic lies a story. Michelle, from North Wales, has recorded a video interview about her daughter, Claire. At the age of 22, Claire collapsed and died of a pulmonary embolism.
Michelle is supporting the Ask about Clots campaign to raise awareness of thrombosis. She believes that if she had been more aware of the dangers of thrombosis, things could have been very different.
Claire had been unwell for a while, and had outlined her symptoms to doctors. However, the first time thrombosis was mentioned was in the coroner’s report. In the video, Michelle says, “If I had known what I know now and forced the issue for this to be checked, she would still be with us.”
We hope that Ask about Clots will help more people understand the risks of thrombosis, and be alert to it. This will lead to clinical staff and patients working in partnership to reduce the risk of thrombosis.
Encouraging people to Ask about Clots is therefore a great example of ‘co-production’ in healthcare. When people are informed and participating in their healthcare, we would expect to see improved health outcomes.
I am pleased to see the support for this campaign from healthcare professionals. We need to be ready to respond to patients when they ask about it so that they can be correctly assessed and the appropriate life-saving interventions provided.
Find out more at www.askaboutclots.co.uk
Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE, is the Chief Medical Officer for Wales. Find her on Twitter at @CMOWales
Read the report from the one day inquiry into thrombosis in hospitals