By: 23 October 2014
Medical Innovation Bill based on dangerous myths, says APIL

The Medical Innovation Bill, which aims to allow doctors to use innovative medical treatments without fear of being sued, is founded on myths, according to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

APIL has released a report which looks to debunk a number of myths about clinical negligence claims that it says are alluded to in Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill.

John Spencer, President of the national not-for-profit campaign group, said that he was particularly concerned about the belief that the Medical Innovation Bill would only apply to dying people who were willing to give anything a chance.

“In fact, the Bill will affect all patients who, in their vulnerability, may be tempted to take risks at the hands of maverick doctors who are over-ambitious in their drive to make names for themselves,” said Spencer.

He said that Lord Saatchi’s amendments to the Bill did not address concerns about patient safety raised by doctors, patient groups, and medical research organisations. Under the Bill, a doctor needs to only obtain the views of an appropriately qualified doctor before undertaking an innovative treatment.

“Crucially, he would not have to act on those views, and we still don’t know what an ‘appropriately qualified doctor’ is,” he said.

“The Bill is both ill-conceived and completely unnecessary. We hear wonderful stories of medical breakthroughs every day, and have heard no cases of a doctor being sued for using an innovative treatment.

“The current legal requirement of doctors has been helping to protect patients for nearly 60 years. If a lack of understanding is in fact stopping some doctors from taking what could be the best course of action for their patients, then there should be an effort to educate, not legislate,” he added.