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The Healthwatch Debate 2015: The Saatchi Bill

Posted on 10/03/2015

Nick Ross speaking against the Saatchi Bill

The Heathwatch Debate took place in conjunction with King's College London this week, looking at the recently axed Medical Innovation bill, also knows as the Saatchi bill. The bill had sought to promote medical innovation by dispensing with current clinical negligence law in relation to decisions to provide treatment. Concerns had been raised by opponents of the Bill that it could lead to irresponsible experimentation of untried treatments and was not needed as law currently allowed doctors to innovate, while supporters of the Bill called for the need to promote responsible innovation.

You can watch the full debate below

The evening opened with a welcome to King’s College from Professor Helen McCutcheon, following which Mr Keith Isaacson from HealthWatch provided a brief background to the role of the charity.  He then handed over to Chair for the evening, Sir Peter Bazelgette (Chair of Arts Council England).

The debate motion ‘that this house supports The Medical Innovation Bill’ was proposed by Sir Michael Rawlins (Head of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority) and seconded by Mr Daniel Greenberg (Parliamentary lawyer).  Speakers against the motion were Nick Ross (journalist and broadcaster), who was seconded by Nigel Poole QC (barrister). After a very lively debate, members of the audience were asked to raise their hands for or against the motion, or to abstain.  The motion was defeated by 130 votes, with only 3 voters for the motion and 13 abstainers.  The Bill went before the House of Commons for its Second Reading on March 6th. No MP moved the Bill, so it progressed no further.  We wait with interest to see what happens next. 

For further information on the work of HealthWatch, please go to the website:

For the 'Bill Team's Guide to the Bill' please visit 

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