Surrey hospitals to pilot rollout of Martha's Rule

An image of Martha Mills, who died of sepsis
Martha Mills, 13, died of sepsis after her symptoms were missed [ Laity family photograph/PA]

Two hospitals in Surrey will be among the first in England to introduce Martha’s Rule, which allows seriously ill patients and their families easy access to a second opinion if their condition worsens.

Merope Mills campaigned for Martha's Rule after her daughter died from sepsis in 2021. An inquest found 13-year-old Martha could have survived with better care.

When the initiative is introduced at East Surrey and Frimley Park hospitals later this year, people who feel their concerns are not being listened to can request a second opinion.

The two hospitals are among 143 chosen to pilot the first phase of Martha’s Rule – which will be complete in March 2025.

Ed Cetti, chief medical officer at East Surrey, said: “It can only be a positive step for patient safety if patients or their families can request an urgent review if there is a concern about clinical deterioration.”

A spokesman for Frimley Park said the hospital is "very pleased" to be one of the first to implement the initiative.

The hospitals are yet to confirm the exact dates they will be launching the rule.

First phase

Martha injured her pancreas after slipping onto the handlebars of her bike while cycling in 2021. She was admitted to King’s College Hospital, in London.

She died after developing an infection leading to sepsis.

The hospital apologised for its mistakes after it was found Martha may have survived with better care.

Hospitals with critical care teams were invited to apply to be included in the first phase of the roll-out of the scheme.

Three hospitals in Sussex and six in Kent will introduce Martha's rule by March 2025. They are:


  • Conquest Hospital, St Leonards

  • Eastbourne District General Hospital

  • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton


  • Medway Maritime Hospital

  • William Harvey Hospital, Ashford

  • Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate

  • Darent Valley Hospital

  • The Tunbridge Wells Hospital

  • Maidstone Hospital

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said some hospitals will need “additional resources” to accommodate Martha’s Rule.

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