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Martha's Rule to give NHS patients and families right to urgent second opinion

Still Waters

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The NHS in England will roll out ‘Martha’s Rule’ from April to give patients and families access to a rapid review if they are worried about a condition getting worse.

The escalation process, which formalises access to a critical care team for a second opinion, will be available 24/7 and will be advertised throughout hospitals.

Under the move, an urgent clinical review would be carried out by a different team in the hospital if a patient’s condition is rapidly worsening and they or their family feels they are not getting the care needed.

At least 100 NHS trusts are expected to bring in the rule, with the programme evaluated throughout this year and next.

The plan is to then extend Martha’s Rule to all acute hospitals, subject to government funding.


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Good, I’ve heard of similar rules saving lives here in Oz, especially when overworked triage nurses miss subtle symptoms.

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I would have had a defibrillator for 30 years if I hadn't gotten a second opinion when I had massive heart failure. The second doctor said he could treat me with meds and I've pretty much been okay without getting my chest opened up. I'm so glad I got a second opinion.

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With the NHS the doctors are also over cautious subjecting patients to medications and procedures they don`t actually need. 

If I listened to my doctor every time I got an ankle collision I`d be radioactive from all the x-rays I would have had. Furthermore, the one time I actually had broken my ankle and had an x-ray they missed it. They gave me the all clear, yet once the swelling had gone down I could feel the loose ankle bone moving around, I had to go back and get them to do their job properly.

That was the last time I went to the NHS for anything, BUPA for me from now on.

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