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

Robert Francis QC, author of the two Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust enquiries

Robert Francis QC, author of the two Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust enquiries

While the Bill excludes “treatment for the purposes of research” from its ambit, it is far from clear that it protects patients from being induced to accept treatment which is untested but the experience of which will benefit the manufacturers. The learning from the use of innovative treatment will often benefit inventors as well as patients, but this Bill effectively passes the risk entirely to the patient and lifts it from the promoter of the treatment.
Medical Innovation Bill Saatchi Bill
2014-06-03T23:29:59+01:00
While the Bill excludes “treatment for the purposes of research” from its ambit, it is far from clear that it protects patients from being induced to accept treatment which is untested but the experience of which will benefit the manufacturers. The learning from the use of innovative treatment will often benefit inventors as well as patients, but this Bill effectively passes the risk entirely to the patient and lifts it from the promoter of the treatment.