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Over time, the Bill will, we believe, encourage innovation and in turn support the development of better treatments and cures for all manner of diseases, conditions and cancers.
It will foster a spirit of innovation, which will advance medical science and discovery in the interests of patients.
At the same time it will act against the maverick and the snake oil salesman. The Bill will be a catalyst for change.
‘…this is a vitally important Bill to drive forward the practicalities of innovation in clinical practice. I hope that it will also drive forward a positive culture of putting innovation at the heart of all clinical thinking.’
‘…We have silos of innovation and forward-thinking practice throughout the health service. The challenge has been to spread that innovative behaviour more widely and for the diffusion of innovative treatments to become second nature to the health service. It is a cultural issue.’
No. This Bill is not party political.
We are reaching out to politicians and the media across the political spectrum.
There is no enemy, no baddy, no political agenda – other than to help doctors find new and better treatments and cures for diseases.
Lord Saatchi’s wife, Josephine Hart, died in July 2011 from a form of ovarian cancer.
Moved by grief, taxed by the treatment his wife had to endure and shocked by the lack of progress made in treating and curing gynaecological cancers, Lord Saatchi sought to act.
He felt that more progress needed to be made and could be made in finding new treatments for cancers and other diseases and conditions.
His research discerned that one brake on progress was the fear doctors have of trying new techniques where old techniques have failed.
This fear is a result of law suits which can be brought against doctors who deviate from standard procedure. All innovation is, by definition, deviation. The law protects those who tread the well-worn path and can punish those who don’t.
Watch this overview on the Medical Innovation Bill by the BBC from January 2013.
The idea of the Bill was conceived by Lord Saatchi.
The Bill was written by Daniel Greenberg, a specialist lawyer, called a Parliamentary draftsman, who is an expert in legislation.
Nothing. The Bill is cost-neutral. It encourages innovation. That’s it.
No – quite the opposite.
Not only will it encourage better treatments and advance medical science, with the consent of patients, it will isolate the maverick, the eccentric and the snake oil salesman who act alone.
As things stand now, under the current law, a doctor wishing to innovate could, in theory, act alone. This Bill will stop this happening.
No doctor wishing to use the Bill can do so without specialist collegiate support. This is why the Bill stands squarely against the maverick and the quack.
Indeed, the intention clause of the Bill, which sets out what the bill is intended to achieve, explicitly states that: “The purpose of this [Bill] is to encourage responsible innovation in medical treatment (and accordingly to deter irresponsible innovation).
→LISTEN: Sir Michael Rawlins – BBC Radio 4 Today programme, June 2nd 2014.
Sir Michael is Chair of Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, former chairman for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and President of the Royal Society of Medicine
“The Saatchi Bill will allow responsible innovation.” says Sir Michael Rawlins.
“From trying out things in individual patients, that can lead onto research and benefit thousands of other patients,” adds Sir Michael.
Lord Kakkar – House of Lords committee 24th October 2014 Professor of Surgery at University College London and member of the General Medical Council, speaking at the House of Lords committee on 24th October 2014.
“I was initially anxious about the fact that there were insufficient safeguards. The approach that I wished to adopt was one that I know has been considered but has been also dismissed.
‘I have, however, become reassured by the process under the supervision of the Medical Director of the NHS, Sir Bruce Keogh.
“He has consulted widely among the profession and I believe that the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Saatchi, particularly Amendments 12 and 16, bring us to a place where appropriate safeguards have now been introduced.
“I hope that they will be judged sufficient to provide the protection that all responsible and reasonable clinical practitioners would want in a Bill of this nature.”
→READ and WATCH: the full House of Lords commitee stage debate
Innovation is anything that is not standard procedure, anything new, anything designed to improve results, find better treatments and cures for patients compared with standard procedures.
Innovation does not have to be anything spectacular. It might be a slightly different surgical technique, or using a different combination of drugs, or a different dose – and it might be doing nothing.
The history of innovation often revolves around the individual clinician who has an idea, who is inspired to try something new, who has seen a pattern that others have missed and who bucks the trend.
Former Lord Chancellor Lord MacKay has said of those calling for a definition of innovation within the Bill that:
“…the word ‘innovation’ is a straightforward word in the English language. … if we want simplicity, we should go for perfectly clear English words. “Innovation” is one of them.
“To define it other than that which is not the standard procedure, is to risk limiting it and it is for doctors to decide what is innovation and whether to apply the bill to their proposed procedure.”