§ Lord Higgins
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 March (WA 62), whether staff, capable of diagnosing deep vein thrombosis in the 25 hospitals referred to in the answer and who will be on call but not on site during the Easter holiday period, will be summoned automatically if a patient is suspected of having a deep vein thrombosis; and [HL1230]
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 March (WA 62), how hospitals which do not have staff to use the relevant equipment out of normal working hours will know how serious the condition is; and what treatment is appropriate if tests are not carried out for up to three or more days. [HL1231]
§ Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
If a patient is suspected of having a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) then all 31 Accident and Emergency Departments in London will have staff available 24 hours, seven days a week to diagnose this condition, and treatment will commence. The 25 hospitals referred to in my Answer of 12 March (WA 62) will have staff on call to operate the equipment to confirm this diagnosis. As is normal National Health Service practice, if a member of staff is not on site but is on call, he or she will be contacted if it is deemed clinically necessary.169WA
Decisions on the seriousness of a medical condition are matters for clinical judgment. The signs and symptoms of DVT are swelling and tenderness in the calf especially when the foot is flexed. The calf may also be tender and red. If the clot has travelled to the lungs (pulmonary embolus), there is chest pain and breathlessness.
The initial treatment is with heparin, which rapidly thins the blood and prevents the DVT from becoming larger and causing a pulmonary embolus. Heparin is used because warfarin, the oral treatment, takes between 24 and 48 hours to have an effect.