Medical Innovation (No. 2) Bill

There is much potential for debate about the merits, or lack thereof, of the Medical Innovation Bill (and I will not do that right now, though maybe at some other time if I get around to it). What struck me when I was reading the consultation documents was that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt (though admittedly relying on Michael Ellis and Lord Saatchi) is genuinely suggesting that this is what needs to be done to cure cancer.

“The Medical Innovation (No. 2) Bill, sponsored by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton North (Michael Ellis), and the comparable Bill introduced by my noble Friend Lord Saatchi in the other place, correctly identify the threat of litigation as one such barrier. Their hope is that legislation to clarify when medical innovation is responsible will reduce the risks of clinical negligence claims. Their argument is that with this threat diminished, doctors will be confident to innovate appropriately and responsibly. This innovation could lead to major breakthroughs, such as a cure for cancer.” (, at p. 2, my emphasis)

That strikes me as a fairly inappropriate way to drive legislative activity. It essentially says ‘oppose this Bill and reveal yourself as a supporter of cancer’. A very disappointing position to be taking when at the same time asking the public and professions to comment on the merits of a Bill.

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