NHS England publication of Martha’s Rule

23rd February 2024

Statement on behalf of the members of the UK Paediatric Critical Care Society (PCCS)

PCCS welcome the NHS England publication of Martha’s Rule (NHS England » Martha’s Rule) as it will be important addition to patient safety initiatives. The three components outlined are fundamental to the safety of children, young people (CYP) and their families.

The pilot phase will be integral in identifying and establishing the required governance, infrastructure, education and finance required for successful implementation within paediatric services within the UK. Evidence in the recent PCC GIRFT (Getting it Right First Time) report identified that the ability to escalate concerns to critical care outreach is widely variable within England, with only 15-57% of DGH’s managing children and young people offering any adult outreach support for these patients. Indeed, it also showed that routine review by these existing outreach teams of children was largely non-existent in these hospitals.

Any provision of paediatric critical care outreach to support CYP will require significant investment and training to ensure equity of access. This will ensure the right personnel, skillset and processes will underpin the delivery of Martha’s Rule in these piloted 100 hospitals where there are already existing workforce and infrastructure challenges.

PCCS and its membership remain integral to national level discussions and any subsequent decisions surrounding implementation within the paediatric healthcare sector. The timely review of children and escalation to paediatric critical care falls within our society’s members’ expertise to deliver and to evaluate any proposed solution and the efficacy and resources required for implementation.

Carli Whittaker
President PCCS

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