More than 140 patients in hospitals in North Wales suffered blood clots that could have been avoided, according to a report presented to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

It is estimated that there are thousands of deaths as a result of Hospital Acquired Thrombosis (HAT) in the UK each year, and medical staff are being warned that they need to thoroughly examine patients for any thrombosis symptoms throughout their time in hospital, as well as during the period afterwards.

There are fears among Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board chiefs that the true number of patients affected by HAT may be much higher than first thought.

The report comes during National Thrombosis Week, where Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity is striving to increase awareness of HAT among healthcare professionals.

Last month, NHS Wales also launched its ‘Ask About Clots’ campaign which aims to encourage patients to actively ask healthcare professionals about their risk of developing a blood clot.

Cathryn Davies, senior clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors' Cardiff office, commented: “We are seeing an increase in the number of people coming forward who have been affected by thrombosis, either during their hospital stay or shortly afterwards. Sadly it can often be their family we see after a death.

“Blood clots are not something you only get on a long haul flight, the trigger is often long periods of inactivity, such as while in hospital or when suffering from illness.

“Assessing a patient’s risk of thrombosis is of course key but those patients who don’t ‘tick the boxes’ need to be regularly checked too, regardless of age, both during a hospital stay and after being discharged. In the majority of cases HAT is preventable, so the onus is on already hard pressed healthcare professionals to be extra-vigilant.”