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

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The Medical Innovation Register

Re-blogged with permission from The Medical Innovation Register by Nigel Poole QC The new selling point for the Saatchi Bill is that it will lead to the creation of a new and important data base of innovative treatments. As seems often to be the case with the Bill, it pays to look behind the claims and check the reality. At its…

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…

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.…

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…

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…

Treating Children under the Saatchi Bill

Re-blogged with permission from Treating Children under the Saatchi Bill by Nigel Poole QC If the Saatchi Bill is passed there will come a time when a child is seriously harmed by negligent treatment and the child receives no compensation because the doctor has a “Saatchi defence”. Some supporters of the Saatchi Bill believe that its opponents lack compassion and are…

Perception and Reality

Re-blogged with permission from Perception and Reality by Nigel Poole QC “In democratic politics, perception is reality” wrote Lord Saatchi in The Telegraph earlier this year. In his days in advertising and PR he learned all about the power of the word and of the image. We can all remember the line, “Labour Isn’t Working” and the images of slashed purple…