I’d not realised it, but the latest iteration of the erstwhile Medical Innovation Bill – colloquially known as the Saatchi Bill – is up for debate in the Commons on Friday. This is it in its latest form: to all intents and purposes, though, it’s the same thing about which I’ve blogged before.
In a nutshell, the Bill does nothing except remove protections from patients who would (under the current law) be able to sue for negligence in the event that their doctor’s “innovative” treatment is ill-founded.
Much more articulate summaries of what’s wrong with the Bill can be found here and here, with academic commentary here (mirrored here on SSRN for those without insitutional access). There have been amendments to the Bill that make the version to be discussed on Friday slightly different from that analysed – but they are only cosmetic; the important parts remain.
Ranged against the Bill are the Medical professional bodies, the personal injuries profession, patient bodies, and research charities. In favour of the Bill are the Daily Telegraph, a few people in the Lords who should know better (Lord Woolf, Lady Butler-Sloss: this means you), and Commons MPs who – understandably – don’t want to be seen as the one who voted against the cure for cancer.
Gloriously, Christ Heaton-Harris, who introduced the Bill, did so only after winning the ballot for Private Members’ Bills. In a nutshell, he was allotted Parliamentary time, and then began the process of wondering what to do with it – which suggests that even the Bill’s sponsor doesn’t have a burning commitment to the cause – or, at least, didn’t when he took it on.
Still, the Bill has the support of Government; as it stands, there’s a good chance that it’ll pass.
SO: Take a few minutes to look up your MP’s email address – you can do that by following this link – and drop him/ her a line to encourage them to vote against the Bill.