Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs

Will Lord Saatchi's Bill lead to developments in treatment for cancer?

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
  • Posted
  • Author

Lord Saatchi began work towards the Medical Innovations Bill towards the end of 2011. The first reading of the Bill before Parliament was on 3rd December 2012.Lord Lord Saatchi began work towards the Medical Innovations Bill towards the end of 2011. The first reading of the Bill before Parliament was on 3rd December 2012.

The purposes of the Bill are stated as the following:

  • To encourage responsible innovation in medical treatment and management
  • To enhance certainty and clarity for doctors and others on the criteria to be applied in determining whether to innovate and
  • To codify existing best practice as to decisions by doctors to innovate where evidence based treatment is not optimal or appropriate.

Lord Saatchi is particularly passionate about this Bill due to the fact that his wife died from cancer in 2011 and he was appalled and angered by the treatment that was available to her.

Lord Saatchi suggests that doctors' fear of litigation is currently acting as a deterrent to medical innovation and he hopes that by defining in law what responsible innovation is, it will encourage developments in the treatments available for cancer patients.

Lord Saatchi has stated that he believes that the current law in this country is acting as a 'barrier to progress in curing cancer' and that currently 'any deviation by a doctor from standard procedure is liable to lead to a finding of guilt for medical negligence'.

However, I’m unsure what within this country's current law prevents medical advances in the treatment of cancer (and indeed any other illnesses or diseases).

In medical negligence, a doctor’s actions are judged by whether they are reasonable and supported by a responsible body of medical opinion. It is therefore fellow doctors who are asked for their opinion upon the doctor's actions. If the doctor's actions are well reasoned and with the best interests of the patient in mind, then it is unlikely that they will be found to be negligent.

The law of consent also protects doctors, as well as patients. If a doctor advises their patient of the risks, benefits or even unknowns of a drug trial or experimental procedure that he is proposing and the patient opts to have the drug or treatment (being fully informed of all of the options and risks), then again it is unlikely that the doctor would be found to be negligent.

I would suggest that the main problem holding back medical innovation is funding for new medical therapies. Many people will have heard about medications that are available to treat certain cancers, but that are not available in certain areas of the country due to the cost of the medication and a lack of money available.

I don’t believe that Lord Saatchi's Bill adds anything to the current law. However, if it reassures doctors that their actions will not be found to be negligent, then perhaps it is to be welcomed.

Lord Saatchi is also to be admired and respected for taking such a positive step forward and for attempting to do something about the ongoing lack of effective cancer treatment.

By clinical negligence solicitor, Carla Twist

 

The purposes of the Bill are stated as the following:

1. To encourage responsible innovation in medical treatment and management
2. To enhance certainty and clarity for doctors and others on the criteria to be applied in determining whether to innovate and
3. To codify existing best practice as to decisions by doctors to innovate where evidence based treatment is not optimal or appropriate.

Lord Saatchi is particularly passionate about this Bill due to the fact that his wife died from cancer in 2011 and he was appalled and angered by the treatment that was available to her.

Lord Saatchi suggests that doctors' fear of litigation is currently acting as a deterrent to medical innovation and he hopes that by defining in law what responsible innovation is, it will encourage developments in the treatments available for cancer patients.

Lord Saatchi has stated that he believes that the current law in this country is acting as a 'barrier to progress in curing cancer' and that currently 'any deviation by a doctor from standard procedure is liable to lead to a finding of guilt for medical negligence'.

However, I’m unsure what within this country's current law prevents medical advances in the treatment of cancer (and indeed any other illnesses or diseases).

In medical negligence, a doctor’s actions are judged by whether they are reasonable and supported by a responsible body of medical opinion. It is therefore fellow doctors who are asked for their opinion upon the doctor's actions. If the doctor's actions are well reasoned and with the best interests of the patient in mind, then it is unlikely that they will be found to be negligent.

The law of consent also protects doctors, as well as patients. If a doctor advises their patient of the risks, benefits or even unknowns of a drug trial or experimental procedure that he is proposing and the patient opts to have the drug or treatment (being fully informed of all of the options and risks), then again it is unlikely that the doctor would be found to be negligent.

I would suggest that the main problem holding back medical innovation is funding for new medical therapies. Many people will have heard about medications that are available to treat certain cancers, but that are not available in certain areas of the country due to the cost of the medication and a lack of money available.

I don’t believe that Lord Saatchi's Bill adds anything to the current law. However, if it reassures doctors that their actions will not be found to be negligent, then perhaps it is to be welcomed.

Lord Saatchi is also to be admired and respected for taking such a positive step forward and for attempting to do something about the ongoing lack of effective cancer treatment.

Comments