Regarding the HSJ investigation into levels of risk assessment for venous thromboembolism being undertaken for hospital inpatients, the all-party parliamentary thrombosis group was disheartened to hear that more than half of hospital trusts are failing to follow best practice guidelines that all patients receive this risk assessment on admission.

The chief medical officer's recommendations published in April 2007 should have marked acceleration in developing a systematic approach to preventing VTE in the NHS. Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case.

Despite the encouraging messages from government over the past three years, the stark reality is that while nearly all hospitals are now aware of what best practice should look like, over two thirds of trusts admitted to not having in place a documented mandatory risk assessment for VTE of every hospital patient on admission.

It is deeply concerning that the majority of VTE deaths could be easily prevented by a simple risk assessment. The only way these assessments will become a reality for all patients is by mandating this and auditing VTE risk assessment through the Healthcare Commission annual health check.

Unfortunately this does not seem to be a priority. For a condition that causes 10 per cent of all hospital deaths, it is time for government to act.

John Smith MP (Labour), chair, all-party parliamentary thrombosis group