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The Medical Innovation Bill will help doctors to innovate new treatments and cures safely and responsibly for cancer and other diseases.

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Thousands of doctors, judges and patients support the Bill

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18 Apr 14

Join our Google Hangout hosted by Dr Ranj

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Join our LIVE Google Hangout on Tuesday 22nd April @ 4pm

Our host TV This Morning’s Dr Ranj will be joined by Lord Saatchi and guests including:

Alex Smith: CEO Harrison’s Fund

Professor Stephen Kennedy: Head of Department, Professor of Reproductive Medicine & Honorary Consultant, University of Oxford

Kris Hallenga: Founder Coppa Feel

Charlie Chan - Consultant Surgeon

Liz Campbell – Director, Wellbeing of Women

James Hargrave - Empower: Access to Medicine

Watch the hangout here: http://bit.ly/1lbPzlZ

Join in via Twitter: #SaatchiBill

Sign our petition: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS 

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

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17 Apr 14

The “Saatchi bill” will allow responsible innovation in treatment says Michael D Rawlins President, Royal Society of Medicine

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By Michael D Rawlins President, Royal Society of Medicine

Published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) 15th April 2014

You need to either be a member of the BMJ or to sign up for their 14 day trial

Many doctors, myself included, will have occasionally tried to treat individual patients – where all else has failed – with novel interventions. This may be where there is no recognised form of effective treatment; or when existing one(s) have not produced the desired effect. The legal basis for doing so, at least for pharmaceuticals, has been the so-called “named patient” provisions of Section 9 of the Medicines Act 19682 which permits any doctor to be able “to sell, procure or supply a medicinal product to a patient under his or her care”.

Although my own experience has been disappointing there have been occasions, when intervening in such a manner, have subsequently led to significant advances. Indeed, such observations are arguably a form of n-of-1 trial.

Confidence in using the “named patient” provisions of the Medicines Act has though become eroded. A number of legal authorities have pointed out that departing from what is regarded as “established practice” or “the standard of care” leaves a doctor open to an action for negligence. The definition of “the standard of care” traditionally follows the Bolam principle2 as amended by the Bolitho decision3 but was forcefully criticised by Lady Butler-Schloss4 in her capacity as President of the Family Division of the High Court:

“The Bolam test ought not to be allowed to inhibit medical

progress. And it is clear that if one waited for the Bolam

test to be complied with to its fullest extent, no innovative

work such as the use of penicillin or performing heart

transplant surgery would ever be attempted”.

The Medical Innovation Bill attempts to rectify this situation. It proposes legislation stating that it would not be negligent for a doctor to depart from the existing range of accepted medical treatments, for a condition, in carefully defined circumstances. These circumstances – allowing for responsible innovation – are laid out in later Sections of the Bill. They include a plausible basis for the use proposed treatment, and an assessment of the risks that could be reasonably expected to be associated with it. The Bill also proposes that, before embarking on such a treatment, the doctor should have discussed it with the patient, the multi-disciplinary team responsible for the patient’s care, and with the Institutions Responsible Officer. The Bill emphasises that its provisions are solely concerned with the patient’s best interests.

The Bill as originally introduced into the House of Lords in May 2013, as a Private Members Bill by Lord (Maurice) Saatchi, and has become known colloquially as “The Saatchi Bill”. The Department of Health is currently consulting on a draft version of it5. I was originally sceptical about the need for the Saatchi Bill but I have been persuaded otherwise. First, it is clear from the comments of Lady Butler-Schloss4, as well as other legal authorities Lord Saatchi has consulted, that there are serious legal impediments in civil law to using therapeutic interventions that do not represent the current standard of care. Second, although Lord Saatchi’s original Bill was confined to patients with malignant disease this restriction has, rightly in my view, been removed in the current draft. There are, after all, many other miserable conditions for which we have no, or very limited, remedies. Third, I did not believe that his suggestion for approval by a multi-disciplinary team, alone, provided sufficient safeguards: the inclusion, now, of agreement by a doctor’s Responsible Officer provides me with re-assurance.

Despite my strong support for the Medical Innovation Bill there are important consequences for the professions when (as I hope) it becomes law:

1) Just because a particular intervention appears to have been effective in an individual patient it cannot be assumed that the results are generalisable. Further research in the form of one or more randomised controlled trials, or case series, will be necessary to establish its effectiveness. To take a recent example, a case report6 describing the apparently successful treatment of generalised juvenile pustular psoriasis with etanercept, requires confirmation before it can be regarded as the current standard of care.

2) There may be occasions when Responsible Officers wish to seek other advice before approving the proposed use of an intervention in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Innovation Bill. This will often need to be provided very rapidly especially when a patient has a life-threatening illness. The Academy of Medical Sciences, or some of the specialist associations such as the British Pharmacological Society, could have an important role here in offering a speedy advice service.

3) If the intentions behind the Medical Innovation Bill are to be fulfilled, NHS hospital Trusts, and their Responsible Officers, will need to look on proposals sympathetically. Anecdotal evidence suggests that too many Trusts are fearful of departing from the prevailing standard of care because of the possibility of litigation. The Bill should provide them with adequate reassurance.

4) It is essential that the results of using the Bill’s provisions, in individual patients, are placed in the public domain whether or not they have been successful. This would allow others not only to learn from such experiences but – especially for interventions that appear to have been successful – to undertake formal research.

I believe that the use of the provisions in the draft Medical Innovation Bill offer benefits to patients – especially those with rarer diseases – as well as to the furtherance of medical science. Subject to the responses to consultation it is the government’s intention to have it on the statute book at the earliest opportunity5.

References

1. Medicines Act (1968). www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/67 (accessed 12.04.14)

2. McNair J. Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957) 1 WLR 582. www.e-lawresources.co.uk/Bolam-v—Friern-Hospital-Management-Committee.php (accessed 12.04.14)

3. House of Lords. Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority (1998) AC 232. www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKHL/1997/46.html (accessed 12.04.14)

4. Butler-Schloss LJ. Simms v Simms (2002) FAM.83 para 48. www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Fam/2002/2734.html (accessed 12.04.14)

5. Department of Health. Legislation to encourage medical innovation. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/285272/9959-TSO-2901828-Legislation_to_Encourage_Medical_Innovation.pdf (accessed 12.04.14)

6. Fialová J1, Vojáčková N, Vaňousová D, Hercogová J. Juvenile generalized pustular psoriasis treated with etanercept. 2014;2:105-8. doi:10.1111/dth.12065.

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

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14 Apr 14

Join our Facebook Chat TONIGHT at 8pm

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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told patients in England and Wales that he will pass the Medical innovation Bill into law if the public tell him they want it.

Patients, doctors and lawyers have responded in their thousands telling him they want the Bill - and, crucially, why.

Officials at the Department of health tell us that it isn’t enough just to tick the ‘Yes’ box - they want to see reasons too. You have been telling him your stories, through the Change.Org response form which goes straight to the civil servants analysing the responses at the department. 

Thank you for this. 

Yet, we know that even though people want the Bill, there is a real danger that officials will remain unmoved. Don’t give them the option to ignore you. That’s why we’re holding this Facebook chat - to hear your stories, to inspire each other to respond, to tell civil servants who control the consultation that this is a democracy and that you want the Bill.

Join our Facebook Chat April 15th 8pm on our Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1fOcOUG

But the Bill isn’t the only game in town - it is part of a bigger movement for medical innovation and the search or new treatments for so-far incurable diseases, like Duchene’s Muscular Dystrophy, for example. The Saatchi Bill Team has been working with Empower Access To Medicine, Harrison’s Fund, cancer charities, patient groups and many others to support each other as a community of patients and carers who want to see lives saved and changed for the better.

Empower Access to Medicine  wants to speed up access to new drugs therapies. At the moment drug trials and development take years. But patients who are dying don’t have time to spare. So Empower has persuaded the Department of Health to allow patients and doctors to use promising drug therapies before they have finished the full trials process. 

It’s a great achievement.

James Hargrave, Empower says: “Both Empower: Access to Medicine and Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill are working to put patients at the heart of medicine. Doctors must be allowed the space to innovate responsibly without fear or favour – but to be able to do this the drug development process needs to be fit for purpose so that there are innovative treatments for them to use.

“The time has come for medical regulation to match modern medicine.”

The Saatchi Bill will, if passed, support doctors who want to use such medicines early - by giving them confidence to prescribe them without the risk of being sued - as long as they get the consent of other senior doctors and the patient.

So, the Saatchi Bill is vital part of a bigger picture. The Bill alone will make a big difference. But in alliance with all the work and big campaigns by Empower and others, we will be unstoppable.

The consultation ends on 25 April. Don’t let officials say that you didn’t want the Bill. Please respond. 

Sign the petition: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Join our Facebook chat tonight, April 15th, at 8pm on the Saatchi Bill Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SaatchiBill

 

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: The Medical Innovation Bill

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

Follow Us

14 Apr 14

Telegraph today: ‘This isn’t quackery, it’s good practice’

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Professor David Walker explains why the Saatchi Bill will lead to new therapies for thousands of desperate patients

Paediatric cancer specialist Prof David Walker’s work is a bittersweet affair. At times he is able to deliver the happiest of news to parents: that he and his team have saved the life of their child. Equally, he is the one who has to tell a fearful mother and father that there’s nothing more he can do, that their son or daughter’s cancer has spread beyond the reach of his drugs and the surgeon’s knife, and that their child will die.

Based at Nottingham University for the past 22 years, working at Nottingham Children’s Hospital and Nottingham Medical School, Prof Walker combines a passionate commitment to the welfare of his patients with a deep respect for scientific discipline.

He wants to see more and better therapies added to the armoury of paediatric cancer treatments, to save the lives of more children, and is frustrated by the obstacles that block the path to new cures for cancers.

Medical science decrees that no new treatment should be used until it has been thoroughly tested in randomised clinical trials. Trials are the gold standard, Prof Walker stresses, and where possible patients should be in a trial if one is available. “Research does require regulation to introduce new drugs and treatment safely,” he says.

But trials alone cannot meet the desperate need for new treatments, in particular for rare cancers. “There will never be enough trials, they take years, and in any event there are rarely trials for less common diseases. There just aren’t enough patients.”

Around one in 600 children under 16 are diagnosed with cancers. The most common, such as leukaemia, account for a third of cases, and treatment success rates are high. But some are hard to treat, other than with surgery, such as the highly malignant rhabdoid tumours, which start in the kidney. There are no standard therapies for these cancers and less than one in five children diagnosed with a stage III or IV rhabdoid tumour will survive beyond four years.

With such rare childhood cancers, it is hard to gather enough patients to form a trial in one country alone, and these have to be organised internationally.

“The problem is that there are many different tumour types and sub-types in childhood cancers, each having an unique biological signature justifying a unique scientific rationale for their treatment with modern drugs in development,” says Prof Walker. “They are all rare in the population and there is a huge element of luck as to whether in your child’s case there is a trial available.”

So, while potential new drugs may exist, they cannot be used. “A drug may be available, the scientific rationale for its use may exist, but patients cannot receive it if no trial has been organised to assess its effectiveness and toxicity,” says Prof Walker.

He also points out that the “big four” cancers – breast, bowel, lung and prostate – dominate media coverage as well as fundraising, research and trials. Researchers want to work on the common cancers because their research will be better funded, while drugs companies are more interested in this area as there is a bigger market, and a greater potential profit.

If you have a less common cancer – and there are hundreds – your chances of getting on a trial are limited and the chances of there being innovative treatments are, in many cases, zero. Yet taken together, less common cancers – defined as a cancer that affects five people or fewer in 10,000 – account for more than half of all British cancer deaths. One in six of us will develop and die from a rare cancer.

The lack of trials in this area means doctors who want to cure their patients, rather than just manage their deaths, are caught in a scientific circular argument. There is no evidence that a new treatment will work, so it cannot be used to find out if it does work.

Prof Walker believes that doctors should be able to try new treatments with such patients on an individual basis. Yet, he argues, the law, and the culture of defensive medicine which surrounds it, stands in the way of innovation. Doctors are protected if they stick to the well-worn path of “standard procedure” even if it leads to the death of the patient. But they may be vulnerable to legal action if they try something new and it fails.

Which is why Prof Walker supports Maurice Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill, currently going through a public consultation process by the Department of Health, which ends later this month. It seeks to provide legal protection for doctors who innovate in the interests of their patients. He argues that when patients are terminally ill and there is no trial for which they are eligible, a doctor should be free to innovate.

“We need to allow them to try new drugs outside of a formal trial and collect the data from those innovations to inform the next generation of trials,” he says. “The Saatchi Bill would protect individual doctors who try new, untrialled treatments, where there is a scientific rationale for their use, in patients who consent.

“This isn’t a licence for the maverick doctor acting alone – the Bill obliges the doctor to seek agreement from peers.”

The Saatchi Bill, he believes “will give the patients and their families additional choice and allow doctors to try new medicines in people who have nowhere else to go, and do it in such a way as we could all learn from it”.

Prof Walker also believes that even when an individual patient cannot be cured, this kind of innovation will advance medical science for future patients.

“When people are dying,” he says, “they all would like their passage through their illness to have some meaning and to learn from the loss of their life.”

He also explains that many cancer drug trials rightly focus hard on a tightly defined group of patients with the same tumour type, which has within it a particular cancer molecule, that the drug being tested is designed to block.

Using molecularly targeted drugs in patients with the same tumour drives robust results. But, says Prof Walker, “there is a weakness in the process, because it doesn’t tell you where else the new drug may work. It only tells you that the drug works on a very specific patient type with a very specific tumour which has within it that particular molecular target.”

The new drug may work in another rarer cancer with the same molecular target, he says. “But if I have a patient with a very rare cancer with the same molecular target, I can’t use it. Current rules require us to set up another trial in that tumour, and that’s expensive and requires collaboration with the drug industry, which may not wish to supply the drug for such a purpose if they don’t think it is commercially advantageous. So, in the meantime, the hospital won’t release that licensed drug for an unlicensed purpose because there’s no evidence that it works,” he says.

This is where the Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill would help, he argues.

“If we could test drugs in a patient and record our results in an open-access database, this would contribute to our understanding of the application of this drug and perhaps help with selecting new drugs for clinical trial by identifying those with most promise; although it is important that the drug has already been tested fully on patients with a different cancer but with the same molecular signature.”

Opponents of the Bill argue that a law that supports doctors who want to try new treatments outside the trial process is a “quack’s charter”.

Prof Walker disagrees: “To offer an untried treatment and not learn from the process would be quackery.” “But to use untried treatment and to try to learn, responsibly, about the effect on the individual, and share that learning with others would seem to be not quackery, but actually responsible professional practice.”

To urge the Government to enact the Medical Innovation Bill, sign the petition at http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS. For more information, seesaatchibill.tumblr.com or tinyurl.com/saatchibill. Follow@SaatchiBill on Twitter

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: The Medical Innovation Bill

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

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9 Apr 14

The word ‘lumpectomy’ was a surgeon’s insult

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Pictured: Geoffrey Keynes

The word ‘lumpectomy’ was a surgeon’s insult.

The surgeon Geoffrey Keynes could arguably be considered the patron saint of innovation. In 1922, Keynes, based at Barts Hospital, in London, developed the lumpectomy for breast cancer.

He did so in the face of global ridicule and hostility from fellow surgeons. He was swimming against the tide of orthodoxy, which he described as a religion that could not be easily challenged.

The accepted practice for dealing with breast cancer, developed by the all-powerful American surgeon William Halsted, was the ‘radical mastectomy.

The ‘Halsted Procedure’ was revered. This physically deforming operation involved removal of the breast tissue, skin, nipple, axillary lymph nodes and the underlying chest wall muscles.

It caused a great deal of psychological upset in many who underwent the procedure. It was a horrendous – but no one challenged it. Keynes – the brother of economist John Maynard – began using local excision and radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.

More than 70 percent of his patients survived five years – his survival rates were the same as those patients who underwent the Halsted operation, yet without the horrendous side-effects massive, debilitating surgery. For his pains he was ridiculed.

The Halsted brethren nicknamed the procedure the ‘lumpectomy’ – a low-minded joke.

In his autobiography, Keynes wrote: “A built-in dogma of thirty years standing dies hard, and I was regarded with grave disapproval and shaking of heads by the older surgeons of my own hospital.” Keynes then went on to develop new blood transfusion techniques which saved lives in WWII.

The Saatchi Bill is designed to support doctors who want to change things for the better but fear doing so because culture and law is against them.

What has the Saatchi Bill got to do with culture? How would it help a modern-day Keynes?

Innovation is change and change is uncomfortable. The law is one barrier to change, and it is a barrier that engenders and encourages a wider culture of inertia.

Changing the law, will encourage more doctors to innovate, and to pass on the sense of enterprise to others around them.

They in turn will pass on that enthusiasm and sense of hope that incurable diseases can be treated.

The Bill will be a fire starter. 

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: The Medical Innovation Bill

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

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2 Apr 14

This Bill is very important, as the scientific world has changed

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By Charlie Chan, Consultant General Surgeon, Nuffield Health

In spite of medical advances over the last 50 years, many people across the world still die prematurely from cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and terrible degenerative diseases like muscular dystrophy and motor neurone disease.

For many of these people, the options for treatment and run out quickly, with no prospect of improvement in quality of life or life expectancy. For some, but not all, exploring new treatment in a responsible manner is something that the individuals may wish to do, if only to benefit future generations.

This Bill is very important, as the scientific world has changed. The last generation has seen an enormous change in our fundamental understanding of diseases and their processes.

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

This has been underpinned by the massive changes in laboratory research, genetics, 3-D printing, and regenerative medicine. This knowledge could not have been foreseen over 50 years ago, when the Bolam case was first heard.

This new knowledge has been underpinned by the vast improvement in computer technology, which has benefited all parts of society. When treating patients and diseases, doctors and scientists are waging a conflict on 2 fronts.

The frontline remains the one of the individual patient, with the doctor at the bedside or in the operating theatre. Behind-the-scenes, there is a continuing intelligence campaign underpinned by scientific research in the laboratory.

100 years ago, communication between the front and Intelligence Corps might well have been done by carrier pigeon. Now, information exchange occurs rapidly in real-time between GCHQ and troops in Afghanistan. In medicine however, this communication or translation of new scientific knowledge to the bedside remains slow.

We are fast approaching and era when scientific research may outstrip our ability to deliver this to the patients. Hence, we need to address a new way to deliver innovative treatments.

That is not to say that the standard clinical trial model is dead. There is still much merit in the randomised trial as a paradigm. It is vitally important that the development of new standard treatments for large numbers of people is underpinned by solid statistical analysis and estimation of perceived benefits.

However, a new process for innovative treatments may provide many new hypotheses for new trials, which can then cement new techniques and drugs.

There are some colleagues who rightly have concerns that a change in the law may constitute a charlatan’s charter. However, the Bill contains safeguards to ensure that there is no quackery. All standard and trial treatments need to be exhausted, there needs to be logic behind the proposed treatment, and this treatment needs to be agreed within the peer group, prior to discussion with the patient.

The agreement within the peer group will need to be done in a timely manner. There is a significant challenge for the profession to establish a framework for such peer group discussions, which may occur on the local level or through a National Specialty Association.

However, it is well recognised that this must be something that can be done quickly for patients treated in a district general hospital by local consultants, as well as those managed in large teaching hospitals.

Some of my colleagues would strongly support some form of central data collection.

A central data repository to be analysed on a regular basis, in order to establish whether any putative innovative treatments have any merit for further investigation in large clinical trials.

This might be located in an academic university department, so that this might be independent of central government control.

The future is extremely exciting. Basic scientific research has enhanced greatly our fundamental understanding of many diseases, such as cancer.

This understanding of the basic diseases means that some new biological drugs may have multiple applications across different cancer types. It makes logical sense to exploit this basic science knowledge, particularly to benefit those patients with rare diseases, for whom a standard clinical trial may be impractical or financially non-viable.

Advances in regenerative medicine, particularly in the USA, now mean that organs can be printed in a matter of hours or weeks.

This will herald a completely different way in which we might manage people with cardiac, kidney, or liver disease.

We must grasp this opportunity to change things for future generations, otherwise these scientific advances may be for naught.

About the author:

Charlie Chan is a Consultant General Surgeon with a special interest in breast disease, skin cancer, and soft tissue tumours. He also has a varied practice in general surgery. He has extensive research interests, and is currently involved on the Trial Management Group for 4 large UK breast cancer trials.

On average, he performs 30 to 40 major breast reconstructions a year, as well as numerous cosmetic breast procedures. Amongst his breast cancer patients, he is normally able to conserve the breast in 70-75% of his patients. AIong with his colleagues in Cheltenham, James Bristol and Fiona Court, he is one of only a few surgeons in the UK who are trained in the new Breform™ cosmetic breast operation. He has contributed to numerous articles in the national press (Sunday Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail) as well as the local press and BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

He has written breast cancer guidelines for the Association of Breast Surgeons, organised national cancer surgery meetings for the British Association Of Surgical Oncology, and reviews oncology education across Europe for the Accreditation Council of Oncology in Europe.

Sign the petition for the Medical Innovation Bill: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Want more info?

READ: Get the facts

READ: The Medical Innovation Bill

READ: Jeremy Hunt’s support for the Bill

READ: Coverage in the Telegraph

MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT:


It takes 2 minutes to tell the Government you want the Bill


The current public consultation runs until April 25th


You can fill in the easy form in below. Once you hit submit our form will turn your comments into an email that goes directly to the Department of Health.

You can also contribute via the Department of Health’s consultation webpage. 

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31 Mar 14

33 days to make medical history

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Right now, the government is deciding whether to pass a new law, the Medical Innovation Bill, that will help doctors to find new treatments safely and responsibly for cancer and other diseases.

In order to spread the word further and faster we have launched a change.org petition. Please SIGN and share with your friends.

Alex Smith, CEO Harrison’s Fund, explains how the Bill could help his son Harrison, 8, who has Duchenne – a 100% fatal condition – and those with cancer and other diseases it is a matter of life and death.

Standard treatments for rare cancers and other less common diseases often don’t work. And in many cases they haven’t changed or been improved for years.

This leaves the patient with a terminal illness no hope, no choice and no chance.

The law makes it hard for doctors to try new treatments – even when they know that standard procedures are not going to cure the patient.

Offering only the standard procedure guarantees the doctor will not be sued.

Safely trying something new leaves the doctor open to litigation and the loss of his or her job.

This is why current law is a barrier to innovation – it creates a culture of defensive medicine in the NHS. 

The Medical Innovation Bill will remove this barrier and help doctors innovate safely on behalf of their patients.image

Harrison, 8, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the Bill could help him access treatments.

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, said he would pass the Bill into law but only if the public say they want it.

Hunt said: “The government should do whatever is needed to remove barriers that prevent innovation which can save and improve lives. The Medical Innovation Bill…correctly identifies the threat of litigation as one such barrier.

There are 33 days left of the Department of Health public consultation and we need your voice.

Help us ensure the Government keep their promise.

Sign the petition: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Read about Alex and Harrison here

Find out more about Harrison’s Fund

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30 Mar 14
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I have seen first hand where doctors hands are tied by procedures, and where innovation would have made a difference. There are so many companies developing innovative new products which could be accelerated in their development by a change in the rules.

#AboutPatients #SaatchiBill

Comment submitted as part of the current public consultation on the Medical Innovation Bill. We have anonymised the comment.

Tell the Government you want the Medical Innovation Bill.

»Sign the Petition: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

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27 Mar 14

Launching the Early Access for Innovative Medicines scheme

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By George Freeman, MP for Mid Northfolk

First published in the Spectator

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Imagine this: you take a routine trip to the doctors. Except it doesn’t turn out to be routine at all. Instead, the doctor tells you that you only have months to live. Worse still, there is no certified cure. There is a potential drug that could save your life, but it’s stuck in a regulatory tangle, waiting for approval which takes years. It might come on the market in a decade. But by then, of course, it will be too late for you.

33 days to change medical history: sign our petition to enable medical innovation: http://chn.ge/1pqY6lS

Ludicrous, surely? Yet that has been the dilemma facing too many over recent years, unable to get access to the drugs that could save their lives. Decades more of enjoyment, time with the grandchildren, a whole chunk of life wiped out when a cure could be sitting there unused.

READ MORE…

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