The Man Who Intends To Cure Cancer

Oh goodness, hello September! I took all of August off, it wasn’t planned, we bought something amazing and we had such adventures that everything else sort of slid. I walked away from my desk, ignored my inbox and sank into my family with a happy sigh. I have SO much to write about and to catch up on, I have made a very LONG list. It’s quite an exciting list; I want to tell you about our sailing adventures and our trip to the Making of Harry Potter  with Citroen, I have some fabulous cookery books to tickle your taste buds and tantalise your tummies, I have crafts for the last days of summer and the first ones of autumn but right there at the top of my list is Maurice Saatchi.

Saatchi Bill, Maurice Saatchi's Medical Innovation Bill

I need to tell you about Maurice and his heart breaking, heart warming love story. (If you’re sitting there frowning thinking ‘heart warming? Isn’t he the guy who was pictured with his hands encircling Nigella’s throat a few weeks ago?’ no, it’s not, it’s his brother) This was the one email in my inbox I didn’t star and save for later! On Monday I and a group of other bloggers will be casually strolling through the doors of the Houses of Parliament, trying to look as if this is the sort of thing we do every day, before taking our seats in one of the committee rooms to listen to Lord Saatchi talk about his Medical Innovation Bill.

Words like that usually have a soporific effect on me, it sounds too scientific for my creative, slightly woolly, brain but this time it has made me sit up and take notice. In 2011 Maurice’s beloved wife, Josephine Hart, died from ovarian cancer and, moved by grief and shocked at the lack of progress which appeared to have been made in the treatment and curing of gynecological cancers he decided to act.

Maurice Saatchi and Josephine Hart, Saatchi Bill, Medical Innovation Bill

His research showed that one of the main things stopping doctors from doing everything they possibly can for a patient, from innovating and from trying new approaches and techniques, is the fear of litigation. Yes, those lawyers who promise to help you if your doctor ‘has let you down’ while rubbing their hands together and counting up the pennies. Of course it’s important to protect patients from malpractice but it’s also important to innovate, move forward and to find the cures and treatments which can stop them suffering and from dying!

Maurice Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill is designed to encourage innovation while still protecting patients and will be introduced to the Commons on Wednesday by MP Michael Ellis. On Monday Lord Saatchi, accompanied by Michael Ellis, wants to convince us that the Bill will help save lives and, if he manages to do that, he wants us to help spread the word amongst our readers (that’s you :-)) and garner public support for something which, if passed, could make such a difference to so many of us. All of us will, tragically, at some point in our lives be affected by cancer or other life limiting diseases – I, for one, would like to know that everything possible was being done to help me or my loved ones and will be listening very carefully to what Lord Saatchi has to say.

I’ll report back here next week with more information and, if he convinces me, I hope you’ll help me spread the word!

I’ll be joined in the Houses of Parliament by, Rosie Scribble, Sandy Calico, Victoria Wallop (for Tots100), Penny Alexander, Laura Seaton, Alice Hassall, Emma Day, Barbara Stensland, Vicky Welton, Mary Key, Jade Lewenden, Gemma Mills, Eva Keogan, Vanessa, Louise Lloyd, Hannah Clements, Maja Pawinska Sims Sharon Donnelly and I am crossing absolutely everything that Tracey Cheetham will be there (my Mozambique buddy!)

We’ve all been brought together by Liz Scarff who, as many of you know, was the driving force behind Save the Children’s digital campaign when I went to Mozambique and then to New York, and who instigated the amazing Marie Curie Stories which I was involved with earlier this year. I’m lucky enough to count this phenomenal force for good as one of my truest friends and I’m delighted to be working with her again.

You can follow developments on Twitter @SaatchiBill and #SaatchiBill

I lost two gorgeous godparents within one year to cancer, I have friends who are battling MS and cancer now – we all have a story to tell and, as this Bill begins its journey, I would love to share some of yours. Do get in touch if you want to be involved with this campaign or if you would like to share your story here to encourage others to support the Bill. Leave a comment below or email me chris at thinlyspread dot co dot uk  Thank you xxx


  1. I’m so with you on this and gutted I can’t be there. It’s just sickening that the money-grabbing chancers in our society have caused a situation where people lose mothers, fathers, children, because they didn’t get the treatment they needed.
    Just let me know what I can do.

    • Thanks lovely, good to know you’re on board as the ball starts rolling xxx

    • I’m sorry, but I can’t let the reference to “money-grabbing chancers” pass by without commenting.

      Surely what Lord Saatchi’s bill is trying to do is to address the system. It’s a system that individuals are caught up in. You might just as well refer to “over-cautious doctors”, or “fear-bound scientists”. There’s no point vilifying one group people who are just operating within a system that’s gone wrong.

      I have no axe to grind here. In fact, I’m quite surprised to find myself jumping to the defence of the legal profession. It’s just that I hear the groaning of a bandwagon’s wheels in the distance…

  2. What a wonderful, powerful post. Thank you. Dom @SaatchiBill @DominicNutt

    • Thanks Dom, I look forward to meeting you on Monday!

  3. It can’t fail with you lot all behind it!

    Well done Chris and posse :0)

  4. I feel absolutely and utterly honoured to be amongst the bloggers joining you for this very important development. I have to admit I was in disbelief when I received Liz’s email and wasn’t sure whether I was really invited – so glad you messaged me as well! I’m looking forward to Monday – lets do this! :)

  5. It sounds an amazing campaign, I will be thinking of you all I’m so sorry I had to say No it xxx

  6. I was invite but can’t go due to travel costs and work commitments :( Take lots of notes for me if you can please because I’d like to write something about this.

  7. I truly hope this means that all treatment options will be looked at including more alternative ones. My Mum was failed by the system and we lost her 6 months after her diagnosis. So much more could and should have been done to give her greater choice. I hope only positive can come from this and will be watching to see how it all develops. Good luck to all the lovely bloggers going to this event. Give a voice to all those who have lost theirs to this devastating illness xx

  8. You will be amazing! What a great group.

  9. Looking forward to finding out more tomorrow. Great summary, Chris x

  10. I’m so disappointed not to be joining you, I would have loved to be there too but I’ll look forward to hearing more about this and blogging about it too xx

  11. Fantastic! Can’t wait to hear more about this.

  12. Thank you Chris. Both for the blog post and the lovely comments. I feel very lucky to be able to call you a friend.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody tomorrow. For those who wanted to come but couldn’t make it I’ll send around all the information.

    And if anybody wants to join us or wants more info then please do drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.


  13. I’m excited, but I’m also really nervous. Hoping I don’t get emotional, because of my current situation. I’m fighting my second Cancer and so is my Grandad. We lost my Gran on her second Cancer and my Dad is also fighting Cancer (1st time for him). I’ve lost friends to Cancer too. My dad and I will get our results for if our treatment has worked or not – on Christmas eve. The wait is difficult. So I hope I don’t end up in tears tomorrow. This is important to me.

  14. Of course I welcome all innovations and loads more resources for medical research. BUT, I am a medical scientist married to a hospital consultant, and I lost my lovely Mom aged just 66years to cancer two years ago.

    There really was nothing that could be done for her. Her cancer was so aggressive that even the most innovative drugs and treatments would not have cured her. In fact, the cancer disease made her so ill, she didn’t want any more treatment, not even to give us a few more precious months.

    Mom’s oncologist did not hold back any treatment because of fear of litigation. I know that my OH would not hold back for fear of litigation. I hope that this Bill does not raise hopes for new treatments.

    Not all cancers are the same. I wrote about this last year.

    Thank you for sharing this important event.

    Above all, I do hope that this campaign highlights the need for more scientists to carry out medical research.

    Lesley x.

  15. I’d love to be involved in this. I lost my beautiful Mum seven years ago to womb cancer, she was only 56, a fit, healthy, hardworking, active woman in the prime of her life. Cancer took her within six months. The doctors caught it too late, even though she knew there was something seriously wrong with her for years before, as after she died I found a health diary that she had been keeping.

    Behind you all the way on this! xxx

  16. This is the most sensible bit of politics I’ve read of in ages. Have already shared with my fab Facebook followers for you!

  17. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there yesterday as well, just such a juggling act at the moment, but I will be supporting from my blog.
    Thank you for joining forces.

  18. Lord Saatchi, you have expressed the frustration we all feel and bravely identified the failure of much cancer treatment. I am behind you all the way ! Thanks for this blog. Ali



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