Do you support the Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill?

doctor“When you really believe in something, that’s when it’s really time to go for it.” – Dick Fosbury speaking in September 2013.

In the 1960s, one man – Dick Fosbury – developed a new way for athletes to clear the high jump. He saw how things were done, thought there was a better way to do it and took a chance. Now, every single high jump athlete uses his technique.

It’s an example of how one person can change the course of history (albeit in a minor way) by taking a risk.

In the medical profession, this sort of ‘risk-taking’ can help lead to real innovation and advancement in medical science, eventually benefitting millions of people across the world. For example, Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin in 1928 after he discovered mould from an old, contaminated petri dish contained the antibiotic. Meanwhile, Sir Geoffrey Keynes pioneered the lumpectomy for breast cancer patients (when just the tumour is removed). He was ridiculed at the time for going against the grain of what was then the standard treatment (whereby the woman had both breasts removed and all tissue from the chest wall to ribs), but his procedure has now become a standard part of breast cancer treatment across the world.

This country has a fantastic track record of medical research and innovation, yet it seems there are less doctors willing to take risks and try new ways of treating diseases for fear of litigation or other serious consequences if something goes wrong. And they have good reason to worry; the number of lawsuits filed against the NHS has doubled in four years – last year’s pay-out was about £1.2 billion.

But one man – like Dick Fosbury, Sir Geoffrey Keynes and Alexander Fleming – is daring to change the rules.

Lord Maurice Saatchi created the Medical Innovation Bill (also known as the Saatchi Bill) to free and support doctors to find new ways to treat disease. Launched in the House of Lords in December 2012, it came after he lost his wife Josephine to ovarian cancer two years ago. Watching her endure chemotherapy, an operation and numerous procedures, he describes the treatment of cancer as “medieval, degrading and ineffective.”

“I don’t hold anything against anyone,” explains Lord Saatchi. “Everyone was trying their hardest. Nobody’s lazy; nobody’s incompetent. Everyone’s doing their absolute level best – but they are inhibited by the prospect of a trial if something goes wrong… An eminent doctor encouraged my campaign with the words: ‘This is important because one patient can change the world’. I thought it may as well be Josephine.”

A group of bloggers (and BritMums members) were invited along to hear all about the Bill before it arrived in the House of Commons for its first reading (the next phase following debates in the House of Lords before it can be given Royal Assent to become an Act). Some joined by the power of G+, but all posts are very emotive and thought-provoking. I’ll leave it to Alice, Chris, Donna, Emma (Crazy with Twins), Emma (A Bavarian Sojourn),  HPMcQ, Jax, Jean, Laura, Mary, Penny, Pinchypants, Sandy, Sharon and Victoria to explain how the Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill has the potential to make a real difference and play a part in shaping the future of medical innovation. You can also read about the Bill in much more detail on the Saatchi Bill tumblr blog.

The Bill’s Second Reading is due on Friday 18 October and it’s just as important to shout about the Bill now as it was when it first launched. Despite Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill having cross-party support and the campaign to support it reaching more than two million people on Twitter, there are concerns that there still might be objections in the Commons this Friday.

A lot of you have lobbied your MPs already, but if you feel strongly about this Bill then it’s vital to keep up this pressure. As Martin Luther King once wrote, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write”. If he were alive today he’d probably change that last part with ‘tweet’ or ‘send an email’ and that’s exactly some of things you can do to show your support. In these next few days before the Bill’s second reading, you could:

If the whole BritMums network comes together to show our support, our voices will join together to become a roar that will be difficult to ignore. Are you in?

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About Laura

Laura is an award-nominated PR professional and freelance journalist. She writes the parenting blog, Chez Mummy and is also the editor of Working Parents United, a website to support working mothers and fathers across the UK.

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3 Responses to Do you support the Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill?

  1. jac 14 October 2013 at 16:41 #

    This is such a great bill and has the potential to fundamentally change the way research happens. Thanks for doing such a great post about this.

  2. Sue 31 October 2013 at 00:10 #

    It might be an idea also to look at what is causing all these cancers these days?!?!
    Microwave radiation from cordless landlines, wifi routers and mobile phone masts.
    This radiation has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the IARC/WHO in May 2011.
    People are getting all sorts of cancers and other diseases after about 10 years continuous exposure which is what you get if you have a cordless landline and wifi router inside your house. They transmit radiation 24/7.
    There are 1000′s of studies showing damage and a cover up going on
    see
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk
    http://www.bioinitiative.org

  3. Money for clinical research 03 November 2013 at 03:03 #

    Well, definitely I will support Saatchi Medical Innovation Bill since this is not only for the benefit of doctors but also patients who suffer from an harmful illness. It is really a big opportunity for doctors to discover new treatment for illness in free. And I know that doctors also need high tech equipment that they can use for operation and surgery. I think only few doctors can afford to buy new medicines and equipment that can help for their medical operations.