Mother hopes Martha’s government ‘changes the hierarchy’ in hospital wards | National Health Service

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who died of sepsis has said she hopes Martha’s government, which gives patients and their families the right to a second medical opinion, will “radically change” the “hierarchy” on hospital wards. hospital.

Merope Mills, who campaigned with her husband, Paul Laity, to give families more say over care following the death of their daughter Martha, also called for “mutual respect” between patients and doctors.

More than 140 NHS sites in England have agreed to implement Martha’s Rule, a patient safety initiative that will give patients and their families 24-hour access to a rapid review by an independent critical care team from another part of the hospital if they feel that their health, or that of a family member, is deteriorating and they are not being listened to.

Martha died of sepsis in 2021 after suffering an injury to her pancreas when she fell from her bicycle. Mills and Laity expressed concern about her daughter’s health several times, but were ignored.

A coroner ruled that the teenager would most likely have survived if doctors had identified the warning signs of her rapidly deteriorating condition earlier and moved her to intensive care.

Speaking at NHS ConfedExpo on Wednesday, Mills, executive editor of The Guardian, said: “The most important thing is that I think we need to be more equal.

“It is a very unequal place, a hospital ward, and there is a hierarchy, it is very steep and very strict. And, you know, when I started talking about it, I thought nurses were at the bottom of the hierarchy.

“And I mean that because they didn’t feel that ability to speak in Martha’s case. But I’ve actually realized that the people at the bottom of the hierarchy are the patients.

“They are the ones with the least power and I would just like to change that and have a sense of mutual respect between doctor and patient.”

In February it was announced that Martha’s Rule was expected to be rolled out to at least 100 NHS trusts in England from April. Last month, NHS England revealed that 143 hospitals would implement the rule, which would be available 24/7 and advertised on posters and leaflets in all hospitals.

Aidan Fowler, national director of patient safety for NHS England, thanked NHS trusts for the “incredible response” to the initiative. “We aimed for 100 because it seemed like a really good start,” he said. “When we had 10 applications in the first hour, I knew we were going to surpass that number. “And we’ve had 143 sites and we still have people stepping up. So that’s a surprising answer. So there is excitement out there.”

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Fowler said a pilot model was being developed with teams that had signed up. “There are some basic principles that we know, that have been talked about, but there are a tremendous amount of details that we are working on together.

“So there is concern about adult intensive care teams going to see children and what we can do better in the pediatric sphere. It’s been mentioned how we introduce this in the maternity ward or the emergency department.

“Our goal is not to impose a model on the system, but to develop a model that makes sense for the system.

“We all will once we have a model that we think works. And once we can develop the ideal model, we will do it.”

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