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

What is wrong with the Bill?

What is the Saatchi Bill?

Its proper title is the Medical Innovation Bill and was written by Lord Saatchi and his team. It seeks to promote medical innovation by dispensing with current clinical negligence law in relation to decisions to provide treatment. The Bill is well-intentioned but fundamentally flawed.

Current clinical negligence law provides redress to patients who have suffered harm as a result of treatment which would not be supported by any responsible body of medical opinion. This Bill seeks to remove that right of redress where a doctor has taken a decision to treat in what the Bill defines as a “responsible” manner, even when no other doctor would support the treatment actually given. We do not believe that depriving patients of the right of redress is the best way to promote medical innovation.

The Medical Innovation Bill…

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…is not needed. Current law already allows doctors to try new treatments
…is based on a mistake. Doctors do not fear being sued if they try new treatments
…would not give patients the right to demand their doctor try new treatments
…would hinder research into new treatments, not promote it
…won’t find a cure for cancer, nor any other illness
…could be used to justify wildly experimental treatment, even if an effective treatment already exists
…could be used to justify dangerous experimental treatment for any illness, not just serious ones with no cure
…would protect a doctor who makes very bad treatment decisions, making it much harder to prevent a bad doctor from continuing to practise
…would prevent a patient getting compensation if they are harmed by a bad doctor
…would lead to more red tape, more litigation and more uncertainty, not less
…would put vulnerable patients at risk
…is opposed by most medical, legal and patient organisations

Now find out what you can do to help.