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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch West Berkshire

Government backs ‘Martha’s Rule’ after campaign by bereaved mother

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

The government has confirmed it will introduce ‘Martha’s rule’ to ensure people can quickly access a second opinion in hospital during serious illness.

Health secretary Steve Barclay told the BBC he was ‘committed’ to introducing the measure, after he met Merope Mills to hear her calls for change. She has spoken publicly about how she believed the failure of doctors to listen to concerns about her daughter Martha, led to the 13-year-old’s death in hospital from sepsis.

The health secretary has now asked the Patient Safety Commissioner to explore how ‘Martha’s rule' would work in practice. Similar schemes running abroad allow people to directly trigger a second opinion, rather than having to persuade doctors or hospitals to obtain an independent clinical view on someone’s care and treatment.

Our chief executive Louise Ansari welcomed the government’s commitment to introducing the rule and called for a uniform scheme in all hospitals that was simple for people to understand.

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