I have been to London on many occasions, and quite a few times since we have moved here, for one reason or another. On a number of occasions I have passed the imposing buildings that line the banks of the River Thames just next to Westminster Bridge. The Houses of Parliament.
I’ve always wanted to go in. If not to try and make changes happen, at least to have a look! And so, tomorrow I get the chance to do both.
Last week I received an invitation – which landed up in my junk mail (thank goodness I check through this!) – to the Houses of Parliament from Liz Scarff working on behalf of Lord Maurice Saatchi. I was in disbelief. Why would they want to invite someone like me? What could I do? Then, when Chris Mosler from Thinly Spread messaged me via Twitter and asked me whether I was coming, I realised. I understood that people who have been affected by this awful disease, who knew the effects on the sufferer and their loved ones and, probably most important of all, had a presence…a voice…that they used on a regular basis, could help push this into the forefront of people’s minds. It reminded me of one of my favourite life quotes: ‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand’.
Lord Saatchi lost his wife, novelist Josephine Hart, over two years ago to Ovarian Cancer. Reading this article in the Telegraph from April this year it is not only easy to see how much his loved and adored his wife and how desperate he was to save her from her dreadful suffering, it also shows what he, as the helpless person looking on, had to go through. The frustrations of watching the Doctors do what they could within the confines of what they were able to do without the fear of litigation breathing down their neck. One doctor gave him some words of encouragement in light of his proposals – ‘This is important because one patient can change the world’. Lord Saatchi decided that patient should be Josephine.
And so he is campaigning for a change in the law of medical practice. He wants to make sure that Doctors get the chance to make innovating changes using new ideas without fear and worry, to encourage and protect them so that they can find the breakthroughs that so many different diseases need so that cures can be found. Another quote comes to mind: ‘If we do what we’ve always done, then we’ll get what we’ve always got’.
How can we find new ways, new cures if the people best qualified to do this have their hands tied? The bloggers attending tomorrows event have all been given information surrounding the Saatchi bill, formerly known as the Medical Innovation Bill, which will be put to the House of Commons this Wednesday by Michael Ellis MP.
Once the Bill has been passed,doctors, patients and judges will have much greater clarity as to what is negligent and dangerous practice by clinicians and what is careful and sensible innovation.
This will have two effects.
- It will allow good doctors who have the best interests of their patients at heart to deviate away from standard procedures and innovate, safely and with the protection of the law – as long as what they plan to do follows a clear set of actions.
- It will clearly expose the doctor who acts alone and in a reckless way. Courts will be able to adjudicate on good and bad clinical behavior.
At the moment Doctors are too scared of deviating from evidence-based medicine, as a result this is stifling any new innovations. My job tomorrow is see if Lord Saatchi’s argument to introduce this bill is the right decision and then come back here to tell you what is happening and how you can help by letting your MPs know that you support the Saatchi Bill in a bid for change.
So you see, this isn’t just any visit to the Houses of Parliament…it is to hear a man talk about how he intends to play the cards he was dealt for the love of a woman he lost.
My Mum has suffered the blow of breast cancer twice and had a mastectomy nearly two years ago. I had a lump scare last December which I had investigated. I also supported Emma Day with the Shoulder to Shoulder to Day campaign. Cancer has touched us all in one form or another. Please leave your comments below with your experiences of cancer and how it has affected you. A story shared by you may just help to make the change we need to find a cure and encourage other people to support too.
You can follow developments on Twitter @SaatchiBill and #SaatchiBill
To see a list of all the bloggers attending and for further information, please visit Chris Mosler’s blog Thinly Spread