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

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.…

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…

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…