BARNSLEY Hospital bosses have outlined plans to become one of the first trusts in the country to roll out a new scheme which will allow patients and families to seek an urgent review if their condition deteriorates.

It will give people round-the-clock access to a rapid review from an independent critical care team if they are worried about their or a loved one’s condition.

The new process follows the death of 13-year-old Martha Mills in 2021, who developed sepsis under the care of King’s College Hospital in London.

The youngster died due to a delay in moving her to intensive care - despite her parents repeatedly raising the alarm about sepsis.

Her condition worsened, however her treatment was not escalated until it was too late.

Martha’s family, who campaigned for the changes, say they want them rolled out as quickly as possible, with 100 NHS trusts piloting the scheme by the end of this month under the ‘Martha’s Rule’ banner.

Barnsley Hospital leaders have applied for the trust to become one of the first to implement the changes and are waiting to see if they have been successful in their bid.

A spokesperson said: “Barnsley Hospital recognises the implementation of Martha’s Rule is an important step forward.

In Text Promo Image

“The hospital has submitted an expression of interest to NHSE to be one of the first 100 hospitals to roll out Martha’s Rule and is waiting to hear the outcome of that submission.”

NHS teams will also identify ways to roll out an adapted Martha’s Rule model across other settings, including community and mental health hospitals, where the processes may not apply in the same way.

To ensure its effectiveness, it will be implemented alongside another programme to improve the management of deterioration using the ‘PIER’ framework, which helps systems to prevent, identify, escalate and respond to a patient’s changes.

It’s also received backing from Healthwatch Barnsley, who said the move would provide added reassurance to both patients and their loved ones.

Healthwatch Barnsley chief executive, Louise Ansari, added: “The news is hugely welcome.

“Patients can already request second opinions on their treatment and most doctors respect these requests.

“However, the new rule will help shift the balance of power from medical discretion towards the patient or their family, who will be able to trigger a second opinion directly.

“If implemented correctly, with clear communications to raise awareness about people’s rights, the introduction of Martha’s Rule will help to reassure patients and their families and save more lives in future.”

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis welcomed the bid.

“Having a family member or a loved one in hospital can be a deeply distressing time for families and by introducing Martha’s Rule, medical professionals can help to give reassurance to them that their relatives are receiving the best possible care,” he told the Chronicle.

“I warmly welcome Barnsley Hospital’s plans to implement Martha’s Rule and know that it will bring comfort to families going through an incredibly difficult time.”