You may recall that back in September I attended a meeting at the Houses of Parliament along with other bloggers who had been affected by cancer to listen to a new bill being put forward by Lord Maurice Saatchi. You can read my posts here and here. Last week I was thrilled to get a response from my MP, David Laws, regarding my request that he assist in supporting the Saatchi Bill. As he said he would, he approached the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt who, in turn, came back to him with a response which I felt was very fair and understandable.
On Friday the Government blocked further parliamentary progress of the bill following a meeting between Lord Saatchi, Jeremy Hunt and other senior politicians, advisors and civil servants. One particular official said there was no need for the bill. Lord Saatchi said ‘The most senior officer in the Department of Health, responsible for medical innovation in Britain says, ’there is a cure for cancer’. You can read more about in this article from the Telegraph.
Well Mr Senior Officer, tell that to my Mum. Tell that to all the millions of cancer sufferers around the world. Tell that to the bereaved families all over the planet who have lost someone to this awful disease.
I checked up on the definition of cure:
1. Restoration of health; recovery from disease.
2. A method or course of medical treatment used to restore health.
3. An agent, such as a drug, that restores health; a remedy.
4. Something that corrects or relieves a harmful or disturbing situation:
Whilst there are many people who go on to recover from cancer and live a healthy life, there is still the threat that it will come back. That it will take over and eventually kill someone. There is still the fact that the patients immune systems are weakened leaving them open to the risk of further infections. That doesn’t sound like a cure to me.
I do understand that there need to be sensible measures in place to ensure innovation takes place safely and sensibly but this is one of the many things that the Saatchi Bill promotes. Proper, decent, controlled investigation. Medical innovation.
Surely if innovation isn’t encouraged then we will continue on this hamster wheel of using the current cancer drugs and radio and chemotherapy. And what about the cancers which no one survives? Gynaecological cancer has a 100 per cent mortality rate. Will these victims ever get a chance if Doctors aren’t able to innovate and understand the parameters they can work within without the fear of getting sued?
Lord Saatchi was on Shelagh Fogarty’s Five Live show yesterday along with Professor Andy Hall and Debbie Binner – both of whom spoke at the meeting at the Houses of Parliament I attended. Lord Saatchi gave a great description of what the Saatchi Bill is, but also what it isn’t – as in it will expose the reckless doctor. He also talks about the Department of Health and that we need to persuade certain MPs. You can listen again here
Of course, it isn’t just cancer that this bill supports. There are so many other diseases that can be researched such as MS and HIV. I know that Lord Saatchi and his Medical Innovation Bill team won’t give up and I won’t give up supporting him. Who knows whether we have another Marie Curie or Alexander Fleming in our midst? Let’s hope this any concerns regarding the Bill are overcome by the Government and we can find out.
To find out more about the Saatchi Bill then their website is here
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