Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Opposing the Saatchi Bill


If you support the following statement in opposition to the Medical Innovation Bill, please send a reply tweet to me, or comment on this post stating your name and position (in particular if you act in a representative capacity for a medical, patient or legal body). By doing so you would be indicating your willingness to be added as a signatory to the statement to be sent as a letter to a national newspaper (if time allows, before 25 April when the public consultation closes).   


Statement:
We oppose the Medical Innovation Bill (aka The Saatchi Bill) which 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 Bill is unnecessary. The current law on clinical negligence is no impediment to responsible innovation. It requires only that treatment should be supported by a responsible body of medical opinion, even if the majority of doctors would not support it. Innovative treatment is not negligent unless no responsible body of medical opinion would support it. That is a sensible check on irresponsible experimentation.

The proposed legislation is not well targeted. The Bill does not define "medical innovation". It would remove liability for negligent treatment whether such treatment is innovative, outdated or spurious. 

The Bill has nothing to say about the regulation or funding of innovative treatment.

The Bill does not adequately protect patients, in particular vulnerable patients whose conditions might lead them to look for obscure or untried treatments. It does not require that decisions to treat must be approved by governing bodies, ethics committees or any other doctors, only that the individual doctor making the decision has considered certain matters and has acted in an open and accountable manner.*

Proponents of the Bill have claimed that it will "change medical history" and lead to a cure for cancer. Those claims are misleading and prey on the hopes of those with cancer and their loved ones. This Bill should not become law and the government should look at other ways of promoting responsible medical innovation.

Signed:
Nigel Poole QC, Kings Chambers, Manchester

For further information see my previous posts

Many many thanks for the positive response to this post and to those below. If I have mis-ascribed you then please let me know. Thanks in particular to Suzanne White and Professor Baum who has also provided a guest post. Already the MDU and APIL have issued statements opposing the Bill, as have solicitors such as Irwin Mitchell. I am hopeful that a letter will appear in a national newspaper on Monday 28 April.

As at 26 April 2014 the following have agreed this statement: Suzanne White, Partner on behalf of Leigh Day Solicitors, Professor Michael Baum, Emeritus Professor of Surgery, UCL and past President of the British Oncology Association, Peter Walsh, CEO Action against Medical Accidents, Matthew Stockwell, President, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Stephen Webber, Chairman of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers, Catherine Collins, Chair of England Board, The British Dietetic Association
Keith Isaacson, Chairman, HealthWatch, Alan Henness, Director, The Nightingale Collaboration
Laura Thomason, Good Thinking Society, Margaret McCartney, GP, author and broadcaster
Professor John McLachlan, Professor of Medical Education, Durham University, Professor Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics, QMUL, Professor David Curtis, Honorary Professor of Psychiatry
Kate Rohde, Partner, Kingsley Napley LLP, Edwina Rawson, Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
Dr Simon Taylor QC, Amanda Yip QC, William Waldron QC, Henry Whitcombe, Barrister, Dr David Nicholl, Consultant Neurologist, Les Rose, Clinical Research Consultant, Dr Darren Conway, Solicitor
Benjamin Dean, Orthopaedic Registrar, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, Richard Borrett, Barrister
Lindy Williams, Paula Ashton, Azalea Read, Diane Lyall, Solicitor, Jack Skellington, Roger Fisken, Consultant Physician, Steve Cornforth, lawyer, author and blogger, David Hills, Michelle Beckett, Killian Garvey, Peter Novakovich, Lucy Barker, James T Randall, Jo Brodie, Nicola Jenkins, Caroline Aspinwall
Adam Gyulani-Lancaster, Mark Slater, Partner PSG Solicitors, Tabatha James, David Ratcliffe, S Hart, Ben Harris, Kiri Shala, Roy Omond, David Brims, Andrew Buckley, Robert Kane, Jonathan Hartley, Robert Kane, Darryl Allen QC, Alan Lodge, John Bates, Geoff Silva, David Marshall, Sandra Patton, Muiris Lyons on behalf of Stewarts LLP, Dr Fiona Hamilton, Hamish Morrin, Angelina Curtis, Dr Peter English

*As amended in the House of Lords the requirement is now for a doctor to obtain an opinion from at least one appropriately qualified doctor about the treatment and then to take that into account in a responsible manner.


44 comments:

  1. Definitely agree - please add my name. Richard Borrett, Barrister, 3 Paper Buildings, London

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  2. HealthWatch a charity (for treatment that works) fully supports
    your views

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Keith. It is good to know that patient/consumer groups are looking at this Bill with care.

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    2. Just to avoid confusion, HealthWatch is the charity established 1991 to promote evidence-based medicine and is not in any way connected with the government's newer Healthwatch England initiative.

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  3. I also support your stand on this.
    Professor John McLachlan, Professor of Medical Education, Durham University

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  4. I fully support the statement. My own views can be found here http://www.injuredpatientclaims.co.uk/2014/04/dr-maverick-i-presume/
    I have also made detailed observations about the Bill to the Department of health. Dr Darren Conway PhD, head of clinical negligence, Flint Bishop solicitors.

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  5. I fully support this statement. Please add my name. Les Rose, clinical research consultant, Salisbury, UK

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  6. I support this statement. Helen Neville, Solicitor Hugh James (for which I believe Stephen Webber Chairmain of SCIL has also provided a statement on this).

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  7. I agree entirely with this excellent summary of the reasons for opposing the Saatchi bill. Please add my name to the list.

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  8. Agree. Please add my name to list. Lindy Williams

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  9. I agree. David Curtis FRCPsych, Honorary Professor of Psychiatry.

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  10. I agree. Killian Garvey, BCL student at Oxford University, studying Medical Law and Ethics.

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  11. Petar Novakovich24 April 2014 at 21:20

    I, too, oppose this bill - you can add my name to the list.

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  12. Adam Gyulai-Lancaster24 April 2014 at 21:51

    I support this statement. Please add my name: Adam Gyulai-Lancaster, Medical Student, Barts and The London SMD

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  13. Please add my name to your response opposing the Saatchi Bill. Caroline Aspinwall.

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  14. Excellent statement.
    I agree. Please add my details to your list.
    Lucy Barker

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  15. You have articulated perfectly the reasons why this Bill is flawed. I support your view, Nigel. As ever, Will

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  16. Please add my name to the list if it's not too late (I'm currently @ GMT-8). My name is James T. Randall. I am a British Citizen. My UK address is 105-107 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QE

    THANK YOU!!!

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  17. Please add me to the list in support of the objections to the proposed legislation.

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  18. I support this statement.
    Catherine Collins RD FBDA Chair of England Board, The British Dietetic Association.

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  19. Please add me - Jo Brodie. Thank you.

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  20. I oppose this bill too, because if it were successful and went through, it would make it even easier for doctors/medics involved in patient clinical harm cases to protect themselves. Even more than they already can and do. If as a harmed patient my name can be added I would like to do so. Thank you. Nicola Jenkins.

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  21. Please add my name I oppose this bill, Tabatha james

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  22. S Hart - St George's University of London, Cardiff Law School

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  23. I agree with the statements opposing this proposed legislation.

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  24. I oppose this bill. Ben Harris

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  25. The proposed Bill is not only fundamentally flawed and downright dangerous, but it's also extremely insulting to the thousands of people already involved in cancer research all over the world. As such, it must be opposed.

    Roy Omond, Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

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  26. I agree. Please add my name to your list.

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  27. Please add my name to your list. David Brims retired dentist

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  28. Very impressed by the letter and more than happy to be a signatory if there is still time. I am based in Scotland, however, and it's not clear to me as a lay observer whether the scope of this Bill is restricted to England and Wales...

    Andy Buckley, Edinburgh

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  29. I support this statement. Please add my name: Robert Kane, Medical Student, Barts and The London SMD

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  30. Jonathan Hartley25 April 2014 at 15:57

    As a potential patient I oppose this Bill. Lay people need to have confidence in the treatments offered to us. This Bill if passed would remove that security and protection.

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  31. I support this statement. Please add my name.
    Alan Lodge, Solicitor, David Lee Solicitors
    aka CoventryMan

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  32. Hamish Morrin, Veterinary Nurse. Please add my name - we must head off this nonsense. Too often our political figures seem to know better that any scientist, despite the fact that almost none of them have any qualifications in this area.

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  33. Statement supported. The idea is ill founded, bonkers

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  34. Please add my name also Dr Fiona Hamilton Senior Medical Social Worker - locum London UK

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  35. I support this statement. Dr Peter M B English, GMC 3002861

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  36. I agree entirely. The bill is neither necessary nor sensible. It will open the doors to charlatans. It's noticeable that some outright quacks support the bill.
    David Colquhoun FRS

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  37. I agree with you too,

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  38. I wholeheartedly agree with your views on this.

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  39. I completely oppose this Bill and support Mr Poole's position. Most areas of clinical practice have room for appropriate variation among clinicians. Although evidence based medicine has its flaws, the concept is correct and this law could erode decades of progress in this area. I have worked with and studied under many doctors who cling to bizzarre personal practices. Once, this WAS how we innovated by random pseudo experimentation. We have better tools and understanding now which we are negligent if we refuse to apply to our practice.

    Dr Andrew Norris, Consultant Anaesthetist, Head of School, Anaesthetics, East Midlands Local Education and Training Board (a sub committee of Health Education England) and Honorary Consultant Lecturer, University of Nottingham.

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  40. Professor John McLachlan, Professor of Medical Education agen sbobet online , Durham University...!!

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