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New bill aims to embolden doctors to practise innovative medicine

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8271 (Published 04 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8271
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A private member’s bill aiming to shield UK doctors who provide innovative treatment from the fear of being sued for negligence has been introduced in the House of Lords by a peer whose wife died from a rare cancer.

Maurice Saatchi’s wife, the poet and novelist Josephine Hart, died in June 2011 from primary peritoneal cancer. Saatchi believes that doctors are falling back on standard treatments through fear of litigation, and he hopes that the bill would help by “safely shifting the balance from therapeutic conservatism to therapeutic innovation.”

Pressures on legislators’ time means that the Medical Innovation Bill is unlikely to get a second reading in this session of parliament, …

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