Association of Personal Injury Lawyers logo
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers

Patients exposed to maverick medics under Medical Innovation Bill

27 Jun 2014
APIL news

Protection for vulnerable patients will be eroded by the Medical Innovation Bill say lawyers, ahead of the Bill’s first debate in the House of Lords today (Friday).

“This Bill allows a doctor to ‘play God’ with no consequences,” said Jonathan Wheeler,vice-president of national not-for-profit campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

The Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Lord Saatchi, would only require doctors to ‘consult’colleagues about an innovative treatment. There is no obligation to gain the consent of those colleagues before going ahead.

“The work and conduct of most doctors is, of course, exemplary and beyond reproach, but some medics are perhaps naturally keen to be the one to break new ground. Vulnerable patients will have no protection from the few ambitious, maverick, innovators with no-one to answer to,” explained Mr Wheeler.

“Dying people and people with long-term illnesses are more likely to be open to any treatments which could potentially help them, but protection from harm and the accountability of the doctor must remain in place”.  

Mr Wheeler said the campaign supporting the Bill is misleading in its claims that doctors are too afraid of litigation to try new or innovative treatments on patients.

“Doctors are constantly innovating anyway, so the Bill’s aim is based on a false premise,”he said. “Not a week seems to go by without reports of improvements in quality of life, or even a life saved, because of a pioneering new drug or technique.This is done, though, with well-established systems in place to secure the safety of patients,” he said.

He added: “There is no evidence to show that anyone has sued because of innovation.

“If doctors are afraid to try new approaches or are confused about what is expected of them then education, not legislation, is the answer.”  

He went on: “At best the Medical Innovation Bill is a waste of parliamentary time. At worst, this well-meaning but completely misguided campaign could have tragic consequences”.  

-ends-

Notes to editors:

  • APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
  • For more information contact APIL's press and communications officers Jane Hartwell on t: 0115 943 5416, m: 07808 768623, e: jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk, or Tim Carter t: 0115 943 5409, e: tim.carter@apil.org.uk.
  • Visit the association's website at www.apil.org.uk.
  • •Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.

Past press releases

Extra pressure on NHS if Civil Liability Bill goes ahead, 03 Sep 2018
Bereaved relatives deserve fairness, 31 Aug 2018
Cut whiplash injuries with the headrest test, 15 Aug 2018
Grieving parents of stillborn babies fight for answers, 22 Jun 2018
Lawyers call for outright ban on cold calling for personal injury in Scotland, 01 Jun 2018
APIL, FOIL and MASS join forces for mediation project, 29 May 2018
Grieving relatives cruelly ignored by justice system, 27 Apr 2018
Car insurance injury claims lowest this decade, 23 Apr 2018

More past press releases

Head of Public Affairs
Lorraine Gwinnutt
0115 943 5400
lorraine.gwinnutt@apil.org.uk

Communications Manager
Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
jane.hartwell@apil.org.uk

Press & Communications Officer
Lizzy Freeman
0115 943 5431
lizzy.freeman@apil.org.uk