The NHS has paid out £112m in compensation over the last five years after doctors failed to spot deadly blood clots, according to new research.
Data from the NHS Litigation Authority shows a rise each year in the amount paid out to patients after medics failed to screen for the condition or give appropriate medication.
Last year, the health watchdog said more than 10,000 lives could be saved each year if people going into hospital were screened for the clots.
They kill an estimated 25,000 people admitted to NHS wards in England every year.
Former chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said in 2008 that all patients admitted to hospital should be screened.
In 2005, £21m was paid out but this rose to more than £26m in 2010.
The sums were paid to people who suffered an avoidable blood clot or who had a clot that was missed by doctors.
Today’s research from the thrombosis charity Lifeblood suggests NHS litigation claims for the period 2005 to 2015 could top £250m in total.
Consultant haematologist Professor Beverley Hunt, medical director of Lifeblood, said the human cost of this preventable condition was “devastating”.
She added: “But it’s only now that the crippling financial cost of poor treatment has been laid bare.
“The NHS has some excellent new thrombosis prevention guidelines in place but if hospitals don’t take urgent action to meet these mandatory prevention goals, then patients will increasingly turn to the courts for compensation.
“Judging by the amounts paid out in negligence claims to date, the cost to the NHS could top a quarter of a billion pounds over a decade - an unacceptable and unnecessary expense to an NHS, already under pressure to make cost-savings.”
NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: “We are committed to doing something about this issue, to reduce the suffering of thousands of people and to save many lives.
“This is not complicated. I expect organisations to assess every patient for their individual risk of getting a blood clot, and then to provide the appropriate prevention.
“Not only would this more than pay for itself; it is clearly the right thing to do.