Blood clots can cause swelling, long-term pain and disability and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Despite the seriousness of blood clots, NICE says some hospitals are not testing quickly enough. NICE say that tests should be carried out within 24 hours of a patient showing possible symptoms of a blood clot although if at all possible the tests should be carried out within 4 hours.

Professor Gerard Stansby, chairman of the guideline development group, said: "The NHS should be offering a seven-day-a-week service. It's not acceptable any more for people to have to wait over the weekend to get these tests in hospital."

Linda Millband from Thompsons Solicitors’ Clinical Negligence Unit said “When diagnosed and treated early, most blood clots can be dealt with fairly easily with blood thinning drugs and surgical stockings; however delays can cause much more serious injuries.

Hospitals should be particularly vigilant when monitoring in patients for symptoms of blood clots as, being bed ridden, they are at an increased risk.

Clots were a factor in 17,000 deaths in England and Wales in 2007. This figure could be reduced significantly if the advice from NICE is followed.”

Our clinical negligence team have written an article about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.