Margaret Hodge

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Margaret Hodge is the Labour MP for Barking. She entered Parliament following a by-election in 1994.

Whilst an MP she has been Minister for Children (2001-2005), Minister for Work (2005-2007) and Minister for Culture and Tourism (2007-2008; 2009-2010). In 2010 she was appointed chair of the Public Accounts Committee[1].

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Margaret Hodge voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[2].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Margaret Hodge 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[3]. 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[4]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[5]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Alternative Medicine

Margaret Hodge is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare.[6]

Homeopathy

In June 2010, Ms Hodge signed Early Day Motion 342: British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy[7] which expressed regret at a number of motions passed at the recent BMA annual representative meeting that "oppose further commissioning and funding of homeopathic remedies in the NHS", and "notes that 140 books have been published on homeopathy and that there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that homeopathy is effective".

Medical Innovation ("Saatchi") Bill

A quote from Ms Hodge on Lord Saatchi's Medical Innovation Bill can be read here: http://medicalinnovationbill.co.uk/margaret-hodge-mp-labour-barking-medical-innovation-bill/

Note: The only source we have found for this quote is the website of the Medical Innovation Bill promoters, who have an interest in presenting their bill in a positive light.

The skeptical medical blogger Andy Lewis had called the Medical Innovation 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"[8]. 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[9].

Considering two statements attributed to Ms Hodge:

"The Medical Innovation Bill addresses one of the barriers that stand in the way of innovation in the UK, the fear of litigation or disciplinary proceedings. That fear can deter doctors from innovating responsibly, particularly at a time of rising NHS litigation costs."

In fact, many organisations including the Medical Defence Union[10], the NHS Litigation Authority[11] and Cancer Research UK[12] stated in their responses to the consultation on the bill that they did not have any experience or evidence that the possibility of litigation deters doctors from innovation.

"The addition to the Bill of a requirement to share positive and negative results of innovation in a database is, in particular, a major advance in protecting patients and supporting responsible innovation."

However an analysis of the amendment in question showed that it made no such requirement to record results of treatments under the bill: http://nigelpooleqc.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-medical-innovation-register.html

For more information about the objections to the Bill see http://www.stopthesaatchibill.co.uk/.

Pharmaceutical Trial Data/Tamiflu

Margaret Hodge was chair of the Public Accounts Committee for their report "Access to clinical trial information and the stockpiling of Tamiflu", issued January 2014[13]. The summary of the report reads:

The Department of Health (the Department) spent £424 million on stockpiling Tamiflu, an antiviral medicine used in the treatment of influenza, for use in a pandemic, but had to write off £74 million of its Tamiflu stockpile as a result of poor record-keeping by the NHS.
There is a lack of consensus over how well Tamiflu works, in particular whether it reduces complications and mortality. Discussions over this issue among professionals have been hampered because important information about clinical trials is routinely and legally withheld from doctors and researchers by manufacturers. This longstanding regulatory and cultural failure impacts on all of medicine, and undermines the ability of clinicians, researchers and patients to make informed decisions about which treatment is best. There are also concerns about the information made available to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which assesses a medicine's clinical and cost-effectiveness for use in the NHS.[13]

Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, and co-founder of the AllTrials campaign welcomed the report calling it "a complete vindication of AllTrials’ call for all the results, of all the trials, on all the uses of all currently prescribed treatments".[14]

Science Funding

In October 2010, Ms Hodge signed Early Day Motions 707: Government Funding for UK Science[15], and 767: Science is Vital Campaign[16]. Both motions supported investment in science in the face of cuts anticipated in the coalition government's forthcoming spending review.

Same-Sex Marriage

Margaret Hodge voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[17] and its third reading in May 2013[18].

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/membership/
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Margaret_Hodge
  4. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  6. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/integrated-healthcare.htm
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/342
  8. http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2014/04/the-saatchi-bill-a-quacks-charter.html
  9. http://www.stopthesaatchibill.co.uk/what-do-doctors-lawyers-and-medical-charities-say/
  10. http://www.themdu.com/~/media/Files/MDU/Publications/Consultation%20responses/MDU%20response%20to%20consultation%20on%20Medical%20Innovation%20Bill.pdf
  11. http://www.stopthesaatchibill.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NHS-Litagation-Authority.pdf
  12. https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Cancer-Research-UK-consultation-response-draft-Medical-Innovation-Bill.pdf
  13. 13.0 13.1 HTML: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/295/29502.htm
    PDF: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/295/295.pdf
  14. http://www.badscience.net/2014/01/damning-report-from-the-public-accounts-committee-on-clinical-trial-results-being-withheld/
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/707
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Margaret_Hodge
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Margaret_Hodge

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