Intended for healthcare professionals


Martha’s rule to be rolled out in English hospitals from April

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 21 February 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q451

Linked Editorial

Martha’s rule and patients’ rights to a second opinion

Linked Opinion

Martha’s rule: a hospital escalation system to save patients’ lives

  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

Martha’s rule will be rolled out across hospitals in England from April, enabling patients and families to seek an urgent review if the patient’s condition deteriorates, the NHS England chief executive has announced.

Amanda Pritchard said the programme had the potential to save many lives in the future and thanked the family of Martha Mills for their important campaigning.

Martha was 13 years old when she died from sepsis in 2021.1 Her parents, Merope Mills and Paul Laity, said that they were not listened to when they expressed concern about Martha’s deterioration and called for changes to make it easier to ask for a second opinion.

Extensive campaigning by Mills and Laity, supported by the cross party think tank Demos, has seen widespread support for a single system that allows patients of any age or their families to trigger an urgent clinical review from a different team in the hospital if the patient’s condition is rapidly worsening and they believe they are not getting the care they need.

On 21 February NHS England said Martha’s rule would be rolled out to at least 100 acute care trusts in …

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