Are you ready to be asked about clots?

Leanneby Leeanne Lewis, Divisional Pharmacist for Scheduled Care,
Royal Gwent Hospital

I have been filled with enthusiasm after attending the launch of a national campaign in Wales to stop blood clots and save lives earlier this month at The Senedd.

The Ask about Clots campaign, developed by the 1000 Lives Improvement service, part of Public Health Wales, is encouraging patients to ask healthcare professionals about their risk of developing a blood clot so they can be assessed and given appropriate treatment to prevent it.

I believe there is much pharmacists like myself can do, as the experts in medicines, to advise patients on the risks and to ensure those at risk are taking the right medicines.

As a hospital pharmacist with an interest in thrombosis I am still shocked when I hear the statistics regarding the number of patients dying from thrombosis.

Did you know that around 1,250 people are at risk of death every year in Wales from blood clots that may develop while they are in hospital?

New research reveals that 62 per cent of people in Wales believe they are more likely to develop a thrombosis on an aeroplane than in hospital. In reality, the risk of developing a blood clot whilst in hospital can be 1,000 times higher than on an aeroplane.  And blood clots can happen to anyone. If you are in hospital – or have left hospital in the last three months – you are at greater risk of developing a clot.

But 70 per cent of cases could be avoided if preventative measures are put into place, and this is a real opportunity for health professionals.

Hospital pharmacists, like me, who are based on the ward, play a pivotal role in ensuring patients are risk assessed for thrombosis and are prescribed appropriate treatment.  They can also talk with people on their ward round, and advise them on medicine-related risks and any prevention measures they should be taking.

Blood clots are preventable.  That’s why it’s important for people to get assessed and treated if necessary. It is also why I’m supporting the Ask about Clots campaign.