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

The HealthWatch UK debate on the Medical Innovation Bill

HealthWatch UK is a charity that has been promoting evidence-based healthcare since 1991. It has no connection with the Healthwatch organisations set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

They held a debate on 4 March 2015 in conjunction with King’s College London: “This house supports the Medical Innovation Bill”.

For: Professor Sir Mike Rawlins, patron of HealthWatch UK and supporter of the Bill, seconded by barrister Daniel Greenberg, a member of the Bill’s team of three funded personally by Lord Saatchi.

Against: journalist and author Nick Ross, seconded by Nigel Poole QC, both members of the Stop the Saatchi Bill Alliance.

Chairman: Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of Arts Council England

The motion was resoundingly defeated by 130 votes, with only three voting for the motion and 13 abstaining.

Watch the debate: