The Sunday Times have today published a letter in support of the Medical Innovation Bill from 100 patients and family who have lost loved ones.
The group, which includes Andrew Lloyd Webber, Melvyn Bragg and the publisher Gail Rebuck, widow of the Labour grandee Philip Gould, today issue a powerful plea for dying patients to be given access to experimental drugs and other treatments.
The Bill has moved recently into the House of Commons, having been passed unanimously by the House of Lords.
Last week senior oncologists wrote to Telegraph this week 100 patients & family write to Times.
The letter this week to the Sunday Times follows a supportive letter last week to the Telegraph from senior oncologists, researchers and patient groups.
READ: Letter to the Sunday Times – a powerful plea
We are a group united by grief.
We are the bereaved – widows, widowers, brothers, sisters and parents who have lost loved ones to incurable diseases.
We are the parents fighting for the lives of our children who have cancers and degenerative diseases.
We are the patients dying for an answer to our own illnesses.
We have never met each other. But we share a bond of pain and fear.
And we are united in our support for The Medical Innovation Bill.
Not because we believe that it is the silver bullet.
Not because we think if it is passed that tomorrow there will suddenly be new cures for cancers, for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and other killer diseases.
We support the Medical Innovation Bill because it gives us hope – hope that doctors will feel more confident to try novel approaches to killer diseases for which current treatments are known not to work.
We support the Medical Innovation Bill because it offers hope to people yet to face what we have faced.
We support the Medical Innovation Bill because it will inspire doctors to innovate and to collect and share the results of their innovations so that medical science is advanced.
We know it will give doctors confidence and legal clarity to try more and to do more.
The patient’s voice has been drowned out. We have been patronised and told we must leave it to the experts.
But we have watched – and are watching – our families die. Some of us are watching our own bodies die.
Doctors have the medical experience. But we have the human experience. Nobody knows more about these fatal diseases than we do.
As the Bill proceeds to The Commons, our voice will be heard.
Sir Michael and Lady Pakenham
Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber
Sir Christopher Bland
Sara Parker Bowles
Sir Henry Keswick
Clare Smith Daughter
Dr Irene Kappes
Lord Smith of Clifton