A review of Mr Lamb's achievements as Minister of State for Care and Support from 2012 to 2015: http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/may/20/norman-lamb-was-a-good-but-not-great-care-minister
Following the publication of the Science and Technology Committee's Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy report, Mr Lamb as the Liberal Democrat Health Spokesman was reported to have sent, and quickly rescinded, an email saying "...a recent report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee recommended that the NHS stops paying for the provision of homeopathy. This is a decision which I fundamentally disagree with". A subsequent email stated:
- "A recent report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee examined the provision of homeopathy through the NHS and called for funding by the NHS to be stopped. The Committee did recognise that many users derive benefit from its use and did not argue that such treatments should be banned.
- "The Liberal Democrats believe that, as a basic principle, individuals should have maximum freedom about how they choose to get treated, so long as the therapy is safe. When it comes to NHS provision, we support a review by NICE into the cost effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative (CAMs) therapies, including homeopathy; as well as expanding the work of NICE to look at the cost-effectiveness of existing conventional treatments.
- "We know that many complementary therapies are popular with the public. The NHS budget is limited and we want to make sure that NHS funding is focused on treatments which are efficacious and cost-effective. NICE reviews of all existing treatments would give us the best possible basis for future decisions over funding."
Medical Innovation ("Saatchi") Bill
On 28th February 2015 the Liberal Democrats were reported to have "vetoed" the Medical Innovation Bill, known as the "Saatchi Bill". (The term "vetoed" was used by the Daily Telegraph, a supporter of the Bill. It is unclear what it means in practice - possibly that the Liberal Democrats were not supporting the allocation of extra debate time for the Bill, so it would be debated in the time allocated to Private Members' Bills, with the subsequent risk that it would not make its way through the parliamentary process before the end of Parliament.)
The skeptical medical blogger Andy Lewis had called the Bill a "quacks' charter" and stated "The Saatchi Bill is based on a false premise, shows no understanding of medical research and removes vital protections for patients". Medical and patient organisations including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Motor Neuron Disease Association, and the Patients Association had stated their opposition to the Bill, while others such as Cancer Research UK had stated that the Bill required significant modification. For more information on the objections to the Bill see http://www.stopthesaatchibill.co.uk/.
As Liberal Democrat Health Minister, Mr Lamb wrote an article for the Telegraph explaining his party's actions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/11442329/Norman-Lamb-Why-we-had-to-axe-Lord-Saatchis-Bill-and-think-again.html
- "The Liberal Democrats have listened to the concerns of patient organisations, research charities, legal bodies, royal colleges and medical unions who have told us the Bill in its current form could actually put patient safety at risk."
- "So, faced with this level of concern, but recognising the profound importance of innovation and of saving lives, the best way to proceed is surely to appoint an eminent person examine what the barriers to innovation really are and how best to overcome them."
In June 2015 when a blog post about the re-introduction of the Medical Innovation Bill and the possibility of it being rushed through the House of Lords was brought to the attention of Mr Lamb, he tweeted:
- "the Bill is deeply flawed. I will check what is possible in terms of Parliamentary procedure"
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Norman Lamb voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.
In February 2015 Norman Lamb voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.
Mr Lamb proposed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.
Mr Lamb was interviewed by Ben Goldacre for a London Tonight special on the aftermath of Jeni Barnett's radio discussion.
Asked in May 2015 about his stance on assisted suicide Mr Lamb replied: "I strongly supported Falconer Bill. When faced with terminal illness this must surely be for individual not state."
Gay "Conversion Therapy"
Norman Lamb voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013. He did not vote at its third reading in May 2013 reportedly on account of his being out of the country on ministerial business.
Libel Law Reform
In February 2010, Norman Lamb signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.
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