Newsroom - someone lay in a hospital bed

Medical negligence

Martha’s rule: what does it mean for patient care?

In a significant move towards patient-centric healthcare, hospitals across England are set to adopt "Martha's Rule," from April

26 February 2024

Martha’s Rule, an initiative aimed at supporting patients and their families, enabling them to seek an urgent review if their health condition deteriorates, is set to be rolled out in April. This new rule will also help to promote self-advocacy within the healthcare industry.

Announced by the NHS, this scheme comes as a response to the tragic case of Martha Mills, a young girl who lost her life to sepsis due to missed symptoms.

Martha’s story highlights the importance of effective communication between patients, their families, and healthcare providers. Martha's parents’ concerns of worsening symptoms were overlooked, leading to devastating consequences. With the implementation of Martha's Rule, situations such as these aim to be prevented in the future.

The concept of Martha's Rule lies in providing patients and their families with a direct way to seek a second opinion from a team of critical-care specialists if they feel their condition is worsening. This initiative not only facilitates timely intervention but also acknowledges the insights that families can offer regarding a patient's condition.

Under the scheme, participating hospitals, larger ones with 24/7 critical care teams, will receive government funding to implement educational campaigns, informing patients and families about their right to seek a rapid review of treatment. This approach ensures that families are empowered with the knowledge and resources to advocate for their loved ones' health.

While Martha's Rule represents a significant step forward in patient advocacy, its success hinges on implementation and ongoing monitoring. The British Medical Association has emphasised the importance of addressing workforce challenges to ensure the effective delivery of the initiative. Adequate staffing and resources are essential to support critical care teams in providing timely interventions and second opinions.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins says: “While the need for escalation will hopefully only be needed in a small number of cases, I have no doubt that the introduction of Martha’s Rule has the potential to save many lives in the future.”

As Martha's Rule takes effect, it will need to be consistently monitored and adapted for a broader rollout across other hospital settings.

If you’ve ever questioned a diagnosis or the medical treatment you or a loved one has experienced, you aren’t alone. For more advice, visit here

Read more from our medical negligence experts
Medical Negligence
Cooperation between Spire Healthcare and lead lawyers helping to compensate patients treated by Ian Paterson

We represented a vast number of Ian Paterson’s patients and ensured they achieved compensation and justice for the unnecessary or inappropriate treatment they received.

Side view young woman looking away at window sitting on couch at home. Frustrated confused female feels unhappy problem in personal life quarrel break up with boyfriend or unexpected pregnancy concept
Medical negligence
Maternity negligence inquests

We share how to navigate maternity negligence inquests with our expert medical negligence solicitors.

Medical Negligence
How to spot sepsis and what to tell your doctor

Unchecked and undiagnosed, sepsis can prove fatal. It’s important that you know how to spot the early warning signs, what to tell your doctor, and where to go if you haven’t received the care you need.

Medical negligence
Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder

Since the 1970s, it is estimated around 20,000 babies have been born with disabilities as mothers, whilst pregnant, were prescribed sodium valproate. If this happened to you, you could be entitled to some interim financial compensation for the injuries sustained.

Search our website
Sorry, we have no results to show
Please try a different search term.
Oops, something went wrong
Please try typing in your search again.
Back to top