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Parliamentary briefing: Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) prepared this briefing prior to the second reading in the House of Commons of the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill.

The Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill is a private member's bill sponsored by Chris Heaton-Harris MP. It has two main objectives:

  • to confer the power to the secretary of state for health to establish a database of medical innovations
  • to create a parallel process for obtaining permissions to conduct medical innovations alongside the current established process.


  • The RCP does not support the creation of a separate process for obtaining permission to undertake medical innovations. This may over-complicate the innovation process and will not address many of the barriers clinicians face when undertaking innovative treatments.
  • The RCP is concerned that the purpose of the database has not been clearly defined. The database should not be used as a tool to circumvent existing quality assurance processes, which are there to protect patients from harmful treatments.
  • The RCP understands that the Bill distinguishes between research and innovation. The RCP would welcome greater clarity over how research and innovation can be distinguished in the manner defined in the Bill.
  • The medical profession should lead on developing a new innovation database. The parameters of any new database should not be defined within primary legislation.


For more information please contact Adam Reid, RCP public affairs manager, via email on adam.reid@rcplondon.ac.uk.