Most NHS trusts think the government should set minimum targets for venous thromboembolism prevention and management, according to the parliamentary thrombosis group.

It says in its annual survey of acute hospital trusts in England that this would be the most effective way to avoid thousands of deaths a year.

A survey has found that 85 per cent of trusts now have VTE policies in place to assess all hospital inpatients, as recommended by the government’s chief medical officer.

But only 41 per cent are able to show that patients are being risk assessed, while less than a quarter routinely reassess patients, despite recommendations that this be done every 48 hours.

Professor Beverley Hunt at Lifeblood, the thrombosis charity, said: “These simple measures have been proven to significantly reduce hospital mortality and can potentially save up to 25,000 avoidable hospital deaths a year.

“Hospital trusts must prioritise VTE prevention and management if they are to seriously consider increasing patient safety and the quality of patient care.”

Thrombosis group spokesman Dr Richard Taylor said: “With the majority of trusts calling for mandatory risk assessment and prophylaxis targets, it is essential the government does not ignore the voice of the medical profession.”