Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital are among 143 hospitals across the UK to implement new patient urgent review plans.

The NHS has announced testing and the implementation of 'Martha’s Rule' at these hospitals, marking the next phase in a patient safety initiative backed by NHS England funding.

Despite an initial goal of 100 sites, interest from frontline clinicians saw the number increase.


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Named after Martha Mills, who died of sepsis in 2021, the rule aims to offer families and patients an easy-to-understand route to urgent reviews if their or their loved one’s condition worsens.

NHS England and Ms Mills' parents, Merope Mills and Paul Laity, are working together to explain the system across UK hospitals.

The rule comprises of three components to provide a swift response.

An around-the-clock escalation process at the sites will allow patients and families to alert a critical care outreach team quickly, with the same option available to NHS staff concerned about a patient's condition.

Additionally, participating hospital clinicians will record daily, first-hand observations and information about patients' health from families, ensuring changes in behaviour or health conditions noticed by loved ones are considered by staff.

Ms Mills' parents said: "We are pleased that the roll-out of Martha's Rule is off to a flying start and that the need for it has been so widely recognised.

"It will save lives and encourage better, more open, communication on hospital wards, so that patients feel they are listened to, and partners in their healthcare."

NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: "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.

"The inclusion of daily insights from families about their loved ones’ condition within patient records is a significant step and will help staff identify changes and deterioration using insights from those who know the patient best."

Dr Aidan Fowler, NHS national patient safety director, said: "I am in no doubt this programme will deliver clear change and it has been so encouraging to see how many hospitals have shown interest in being part of delivering these all-important patient safety measures this year."