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

Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Saatchi Bill – True or False?

Re-blogged with permission from The Saatchi Bill – True or False? by Nigel Poole QC Here is the current version of the Medical Innovation Bill, following its Report Stage in the House of Lords in December 2014. As the Bill approaches its Commons stages, the following statements about the Bill seem to me to be true. I don’t flatter myself that…

Counting the Cost?

A couple of days ago, I tweeted that I’d written more than 6000 words in the previous week on the Medical Innovation Bill, noting — somewhat ruefully —– that it would take a lot more words to describe all the problems with the wretched mess they call the Saatchi Bill. I wasn’t joking. The lofty claims being made for this Bill…

Report Stage Roundup

The Report Stage of the Medical Innovation Bill took place on Friday 12 December. (Go to Parliament TV for other viewing options.) The full transcript can be read here. I will highlight just a few extracts. Lord Winston: I am disappointed that we are not defining “innovation”. That is important, because, clearly, these are issues which doctors will need to consider.…

There’s Negligence and There’s Negligence

The published figures for the cost of litigation in the NHS are not related to the problem the Saatchi Bill claims to solve. Patients may still be able to sue for bad practice, but post-Saatchi they would have to fight the Bill before they can fight their claim, which would be more expensive, more complex, and more unfair on patients…

A Fundamental Flaw

Re-blogged with permission from A Fundamental Flaw by Nigel Poole QC If your house is built on soft sand you will not prevent it falling down by mending the roof. The continuing attempts to amend Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill will not cure its fundamental flaw. This Bill needs more than patching up, it needs to be be completely rebuilt. The…

Report and Round Table Revelations

The Medical Innovation Bill — dubbed the Medical Anecdote Bill by Dr Sarah Wollaston in her adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday — reaches Report Stage in the House of Lords tomorrow. Yet an astounding revelation today undermines the whole basis for the Bill. Writing in the Telegraph (the Bill’s media partner) in April, one of the Bill’s…

Why the Saatchi Bill Cannot Work

While the team promoting the Medical Innovation Bill have continued to claim that it protects patients — indeed that it strengthens patient protections — they have been quietly chipping away at those protections. Even if the Saatchi team’s claims about innovation were true, the Bill cannot succeed in its aims. Bill’s adviser and government minister admit that if it worked…

The Medical Anecdote Bill

MP Dr Sarah Wollaston was able to instigate an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons yesterday on the Medical Innovation Bill. The former GP gave an excellent summary of the very many serious concerns many informed doctors, researchers, lawyers and others have that the Bill will be a disaster for patients and research. She was ably assisted by former research…

Lords of the Round Table

We have heard in today’s important debate that noble Lords want dialogue and discussion with the noble Lord, Lord Saatchi, and indeed he has said that himself. Is he prepared to consider hosting a round-table discussion with all those Peers who have an interest in the matters before us today? That would be a very helpful way forward. — Baroness…

Watering Down Patient Protection

Re-blogged with permission from Watering Down Patient Protection by Nigel Poole QC The Medical Innovation Bill was promoted on the basis that patients would be protected by stringent requirements for doctors to secure agreement to proposed innovative treatment. In its current form the Bill does not require doctors to obtain any agreement to proposed treatments and the Saatchi Bill team has…