The Saatchi Bill is causing plenty of commotion at the moment as it passes through the House of Lord’s and nears becoming a fully fledged piece of legislation.
Its motive is to improve the currently flailing standard of medical care by attempting to decrease the way that medical professionals can be held accountable should there be an error during treatment.
Yes you did that read that right and yes it really is as ridiculous as it sounds.
It is fitting that this bill is known as the Medical Innovation Bill, as it is particularly innovative when it comes to excusing medical professionals from having to pay compensation to their victims.
A horrendous last year for our health services has seen complaints rise, compensation an increase in negligence claims and rightfully the Government has sought ways to intervene and reverse these trends.
However, the way they have chosen to tackle this issue is completely unfair on those who have entrusted their health and safety to their medical profession and goes a long way to remove the right to access to justice that the victim deserves.
The terms of the Saatchi Bill could also be accused of allowing doctors to risk a patient’s safety in a bid, as they phrase it, to be ‘innovative’ with their care, safe in the knowledge that should malpractice occur they will be protected against the medical negligence claims that, under normal circumstance, would follow.
It’s simply unacceptable that the Government feel they have the right to play a patients right to access to justice and in many ways goes to show an ignorance to the importance that compensation has for a patient who has been wronged by medical negligence.
The Saatchi Bill also shows a startling ignorance towards the regulations that come with medical professional’s trialling unproven treatments or processes that will leave patients desperately exposed and facing a lack of options should the treatments fail and have adverse consequences for the patient in the process.
In truth the focus is, not for the first time, on the wrong problem. The Government are still hung up on this belief of a ‘compensation culture and once again it is clouding their judgement.
They have taken the same attitude with other areas of personal injury. If the level of claims being made has increased then, in the Government’s mind, it must be caused by victims taking chances, rather than there being a genuine problem.
They don’t take in regard the safety of the roads, or the standard of the treatment being received. In the Government’s eyes it is down to the opportunistic victims seeking ways to earn a cheap windfall.
This simply isn’t the case when it comes to medical negligence. The after effects will often be there to see and can cause real financial strain when it means that patient can not return to work.
The real reason behind Saatchi Bill is not to improve the medical profession or protect them from fraudulent or encouraged claims. It is simply to save the Government a few pounds.
The winners from the Saatchi Bill will be the Government, the losers, the genuine victims of medical negligence and the medical professional themselves in the grand scheme of things.
Yes, believe it or not our medical professionals will lose out in the long term, as they will continue to work without accountability and potentially commit further mistakes which will tar their career and eventually see them out of work.
The hospitals and medical facilities will continue to suffer high complaint rates and regardless of the Saatchi Bill, claims for negligence will still be made and the reputation of the Health service will be further down trodden.
Of course the biggest losers of the introduction of the Saatchi Bill will be the victims of medical negligence. They have been told that in cases where the doctor or professional responsible for their treatment is deemed to have been ‘innovative’, they will no longer be able to pursue damages for negligence.
These damages are not just a holiday fund, as the Government would have people believe, it is a contribution towards covering loss of earnings through not being able to work or the cost of rehabilitation, care and adaptations that may be needed in the victim’s home.
Denying a patient who has been wronged by medical negligence is denying them the support they deserve to afford these things and goes against everything that the Magna Carta stands for, coincidentally in the same month the Government is celebrating its 700th anniversary.