NHS rolls out ‘Martha’s Rule’ to help save lives

This month, ‘Martha’s Rule’ is being rolled out in hospitals across England, enabling patients and families to seek an urgent review if their condition deteriorates.

The first phase of the introduction of Martha's Rule will be implemented in the NHS from April 2024. Once fully implemented, patients, families, carers and staff will have round-the-clock access to a rapid review from a separate care team if they are worried about a person's condition.

Martha Mills died in 2021 after developing sepsis in hospital, where she had been admitted with a pancreatic injury after falling off her bike. Martha's family's concerns about her deteriorating condition were not responded to promptly and, in 2023, a coroner ruled that Martha would probably have survived had she been moved to intensive care earlier.

One of the key issues raised was the fact that Martha's parents' concerns that their daughter's condition was deteriorating were not listened to, that they were not given vital information, and that there was culture of 'us' and 'them'. Demos, a cross-party Think Tank, published a report in September 20231 supporting calls for the NHS to bring in Martha's Rule. In the report, Martha's mother, Merope Mills, wrote:

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