Stop the Saatchi Bill

Driven by an extraordinary two-year PR campaign on social media and a supportive newspaper partner, this all started as Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill, metamorphosed through several versions, and was resurrected under a new name by Chris Heaton-Harris, before finally clearing its last hurdle in the Lords this week to become the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Act. Pretty much the only thing they share is the word 'Innovation' in the title.

One day, it may be possible for politicians to ask the people who actually work in the medical field: what are the problems you face, and how can we help you overcome them?

One day, politicians may actually listen to the answers they receive, and thus try to tackle genuine problems rather than imagined ones.

One day, politicians, medics, researchers, lawyers, patient groups, charities, and the public, may work together to overcome the barriers to the development and provision of new treatments.

But it is not this day.

Read more: Not this day

Who could be against a Medical Innovation Bill?

The Medical Innovation Bill, known as the Saatchi Bill, has been introduced to Parliament by Lord Saatchi with the aim of helping “doctors to innovate new treatments and cures safely and responsibly for cancer and other diseases.”

We do not believe the Bill will have this effect.

Indeed, it might have precisely the opposite effect and put patients at risk from mavericks and quacks. Many doctors, legal experts, organisations and charities have expressed serious concerns with the Bill and even whether it is required.

The team responsible for the Bill have amended their draft, but the amendments would appear to have little effect.

If this Bill becomes law, it could remove vital protections from patients and hinder real research into currently difficult to treat diseases. Please support us and let your MP know about your concerns.

“There are many patients that we can’t cure, but no patients we can’t hurt.”

— Prof Michael Baum