NHS announces hospitals will roll out ‘Martha’s Rule’ as part of patient safety initiative

The first phase of the programme will be in place in hospitals across the UK by March 2025

The NHS has announced the roll out of Martha’s Rule across 143 hospital sites across the UK to test its implementation as part of a major patient safety initiative by March 2025.

The scheme is named after Martha Mills, who passed away from sepsis at age 13 in 2021 due to a failure to escalate her to intensive care, while her family’s concerns about her condition were not responded to.

The aim of Martha’s Rule is to provide a consistent and understandable way for patients and families to seek an urgent review if either their or their loved one’s condition deteriorates and they are concerned this is not being responded to.

The rule is made up of three components: firstly, an escalation process will be available 24/7 to enable patients and families to contact a critical care outreach team and escalate care if necessary; NHS staff will have access to this same escalation process if they have concerns about a patient’s condition; and finally, clinicians participating will formally record daily insights and information about a patient’s health directly from their families to ensure any changes in behaviour or condition do not go unnoticed.

The initial target was to enrol at least 100 sites nationally to implement the new rule; however, due to increased interest from frontline clinicians, this has been expanded.

In addition, the system will be evaluated at these sites over the course of this year and will inform proposals for Martha’s Rule to be expanded further across all acute hospitals, subject to future government funding.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, commented: “Rolling out Martha’s Rule to over 143 NHS sites in this first phase will represent one of the most important changes to patient care in recent years.”

“This major patient safety initiative will… [allow] staff, patients and families to immediately raise concerns and bring about an escalation in care in an easily recognisable and fast way,” added Powis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *