English hospitals face being "named and shamed" for not screening patients for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has said.
NHS trusts are required to screen 90% of hospital patients for the condition.
But fewer than half are managing this, according to the NHS, which estimates 25,000 people die each year from hospital-acquired DVT.
One assessed just one in four patients and another barely one in 10. Sir Bruce said this was "absolutely disgraceful".
"In the sort of NHS that I want to work in and be treated in, I don't think that level of practice is acceptable."
DVT involves blood clotting in the legs and can be fatal if a clot breaks off and travels in the blood up to the lungs and causes a blockage, known as a pulmonary embolism.
"Preventative treatment does reduce almost to zero the incidence of DVT," said John Black, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Surgeons.
"This is the number one clinical priority for me and my colleagues," said Sir Bruce.
"Some 25,000 people die a year from something that is preventable. The same sort of number which die from stroke and other major conditions which are far less preventable."
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Which should be the bigger story?
What's worse, hacking somebody's phone, or allowing 25,000 people to die each year from hospital-acquired DVT?