Decision Maker

Matthew Hancock MP

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General

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Petitioning Theresa May MP, Matthew Hancock MP, The Royal College of Physicians, The British Paediatric Neurology Association, Simon Stevens

Stop the NHS Denying Patients Access to Medical Cannabis

Earlier this year we won a long, hard battle to get my son Alfie Dingley, who suffers from epilepsy, access to full extract medical cannabis on prescription. This fight not only helped my son, it played a big part in getting the law changed to allow access to medical cannabis under prescription in the UK.   This change came into effect on 1st Nov. With it the hopes of thousands of patients were raised.  But the NHS asked the Royal College of Physicians and the British Paediatric Neurology Association to create and publish guidelines on when it should be prescribed, and the guidelines they produced are so restrictive that almost no-one will get access to medical cannabis.  This is simply shattering. These guidelines are not being seen as guidance by many they are being seen as a complete block on prescriptions so we do not know of any doctors who will prescribe.  The guidelines are so restrictive that if it wasn’t for the fact that Alfies story helped to change the law and therefore he now has an NHS prescription, he would never be given a prescription today.  Thousands of patients have now had their hopes dashed and face intense disappointment and further suffering. In particular, I know of many families with severely epileptic children who are now having to try and fundraise to go abroad to get access to the full medical cannabis that we have just made legal here!  We are suddenly back to square one. The Recommendation from the Royal College of Physicians is that there is insufficient evidence to warrant prescription for pain. That is nonsense and flies in the face of several publications and even the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer. That Recommendation effectively stops doctors prescribing. A similar non sensical situation has arisen with BPNA’s Recommendation about childhood epilepsy. Sad, unnecessary and wrong.  This is a case of the NHS and some of the medical professional bodies snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  The NHS must review the guidelines immediately so patients can have access to medical cannabis. Please support Indie-Rose (pictured) and the many other patients who are suffering by signing this petition.

Hannah Deacon
611,621 supporters
Petitioning Theresa May MP

Defibrillators to be provided in all public places

Our son Tom Cooney died at the age of 28. He was playing rugby when his heart stopped beating. The post mortem showed that he suffered from an undiagnosed genetic heart condition, Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy. Between 10 and 12 young people aged 18-35 die every week from this and other undiagnosed heart problems. Often such deaths occur when playing competitive sports. Tom’s friends tried to give him CPR but it didn’t work. In cases like these CPR is only effective in 6% of the time. Defibrillators are a device that can dramatically improve the chances of survival in this situation. Tom might still be alive today if there had been a defibrillator at the sports club he was playing at. Some schools and sports grounds have taken it upon themselves to get a defibrillator, but there is nothing that makes it compulsory in law. In 2017 a Bill was presented to Parliament which would have made Defibrillators compulsory in schools, leisure centres, sports centres and major public places, but due to the 2017 election the Defibrillator (Availability) Bill was tabled never became law. We don’t want Tom’s death to be meaningless, so we have started this petition for this Bill to come into effect - we want to make sure all major public places are required by ław to have a cardiac defibrillator. To avoid other families going through the heartbreak of the loss of a child, please sign this petition to introduce defibrillators in public places. Thank you Alison and Kevin Cooney.      

Alison Cooney
606,232 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP

A national grief day to remember those we've lost

I’m Stephen, also known as Professor Green. I’ve been speaking a lot about grief lately - the grief of losing my dad and my nan. The thing about grieving is, it never stops. It’s something you learn is part of life once you’ve encountered death. I realised when talking about this that it's something we aren't used in the UK. I put a call out for people to share photos of themselves with someone they’ve lost, using the hashtag # wishthatitookmorephotographsof us. The overwhelming and emotional response I got made me realise we desperately need to talk more about grief. I find it hard to believe we have had no other way of connecting our experiences of grief, no day on which we can celebrate the lives of those we mourn to remind us it’s okay to grieve, to stop us internalising our grief and sweeping it under the carpet until it manifests in a far more ugly way. That’s why I’m calling for a National Grief Awareness Day.This day will be an opportunity to call for more support and education around grief, and to give people a chance to remember and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones. It exists in the US already - there’s no reason we can’t do the same here. Christmas can be an extremely difficult time of year, when loved ones have been lost and feel more absent than ever. We are calling on the government commit to doing this by Christmas, and for the day itself to be around this time too.This petition is being backed by Cruse, the bereavement charity who offer support when someone dies. 

Stephen Manderson
111,844 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP, Sajid Javid

Give Teagan access to medical cannabis now!!

My daughter Teagan has a very rare genetic epilepsy condition called Idic15. It can cause severe seizures which are unresponsive to almost any medications. She can have up to 300 seizures a day. It’s so severe that she's recently needed to be placed into and induced coma just to give her body a break. Teagan's seizures are resistant to all medication and she is severely ill. Teagan has now been in hospital for 21 days having life threatening seizures constantly. We are in London far from home with no understanding of when we’ll get home. We have asked our doctors to prescribe cannabis based medicines for Teagan either the pharmaceutical cbd only medicine Epidiolex or full extract oil such as Bedrocan. We are told both are unavailable to Teagan at this time. They will try for Epidiolexafter the 1st November 2018 when the Home Office intends to change the law allowing these prescriptions to happen, but have been advised this won't be the date we can physically have the medication. This situation is urgent we are asking the Secretary of State for Health to please help us to help Teagan by issuing urgent guidance and education for Specialist Doctors so they have the tools to make this happen for us. We feel they want to help but can’t because they have no support with it. Please sign and share this petition and help me make our family’s only wish come true. And please like our Facebook and Twitter pages Help For Teagan for all updates on Teagan's journey.Thank you x

emma appleby
74,136 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP

Don't weaken the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act established the broad principle that public bodies must release information if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in it remaining secret. We, the undersigned, urge the Government not to do anything which would detract from that principle. In particular we urge you: to ensure that the Act continues to allow for the release of internal discussions at local and central government level when there is a public interest in doing so not to seek to create any new veto powers over the release of information not to introduce charges for Freedom of Information Act requests or appeals. Any charges could dramatically undermine the ability of requesters, including regional press journalists and freelances in particular, to use the Act to hold authorities to account. Investigative journalism is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes difficult to justify for news organisations which are under financial pressure. It needs to be nurtured and encouraged, for the benefit of society and democracy, not subject to Freedom of Information charges which would be effectively be a tax on journalism. This petition was launched by Press Gazette as part of the Society of Editors' Hands Off FoI campaign. It also has the backing of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. Note to signatories: If backing this on behalf of an organisation, or news title, please indicate which one you represent. If you are a journalist, please give your job title and organisation if you can. Please do so in the section where you are invited to share your reasons for signing the petition.

Dominic Ponsford - editor of Press Gazette
42,925 supporters
Petitioning Jeremy Corbyn MP, Matthew Hancock MP, Nicky Morgan MP

Stop Pharmacy apprenticeships destroying the profession and increasing burden on the nhs

The employer led proposal to introduce apprenticeships to train up pharmacists, is both short sighted and farcical. The proposal tries to find a solution to a problem, which doesn't exist. There is currently a surplus in pharmacists across the profession and pharmacists are on the wrong end of the supply vs demand situation. Locum pharmacists have seen a 30% drop in wages over the last decade while cost of living and inflation has increased. Apart from that there are a multitude of issues in regards to the proposal. The pharmacy degree is a broad qualification, and it's adherents are more than just experts on medication. They are health care professionals, with vast knowledge on health care. This can be seen by the new roles in which pharmacists are thriving, such as advanced clinical practitioners, prescribing pharmacists and various roles across the primary and secondary care sectors. The proposal doesn't explain how this would be addressed.  Apprenticeships don't lend themselves well to this sort of qualification, apprenticeships are good for less fluid crafts and skills. And pharmacy as a whole requires alot more theoretical learning than that of which an apprenticeship can provide. This proposal if successful could possibly produce lower calibre pharmacists, who would then work across different sectors including primary and secondary care. And any substandard performance could lead to deterioration of confidence in pharmacists from other healthcare professionals aswell as the general public.  The proposal only benefits big chain corporate pharmacy chains, who rely on volume to generate revenue. This simply doesn't work in other sectors of healthcare, a substandard workforce would potentially mean increased work load on primary and secondry care. The exact opposite of what all stake holders bar the pharmaceutical companies want. Ultimately this decision would harm everyone (patients, pharmacists, other health care professionals etc). It only benefits the multiples. Please join me in signing this petition to give a strong voice against these proposals. 

Faisal Khan
5,752 supporters
Petitioning George Eustice MP, Theresa May MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vince Cable MP, Boris Johnson MP, Nick Clegg MP, Tony Abbott MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Amber Rudd MP, Greg Hunt MP, Mary Macleod MP, The Hon. Sussan ...

'Virtual Fences' in the UK to Lessen Roadkill and Road Traffic Accidents

ProblemIn 2016-2017 it was reported that more than 3900 animals were killed on the roads in the United Kingdom (, 2018). This is 3900 too many. Even more so when you take into account that this only the animals which are reported as roadkill. Have you ever reported roadkill which you've seen? No. Therefore, this number is likely to be much, much larger. Road signs such as, "Animals Crossing" are not effective- drivers simply ignore them. Speed bumps don't work either as they disrupt traffic and result in NIMBYist feelings. However, there is a solution, and it comes from Tasmania...SolutionIn Tasmania, on one stretch of road, there are 'virtual fences', which detect car movement, and animal movement, and when they correspond to one-another, lets out a high frequency sound and flashing lights- which is completely inaudible, and invisible to the driver. This results in the animal being "spooked", and not crossing the road, or it does cross, just when it is safe to do so.Too many people have crashed, or died, in their cars by trying to avoiding wildlife. This simple tool will help to reduce this. In Tasmania this device reduced roadkill by 50%- so fewer animals died, fewer cars were crashed, and fewer people died- a mutually beneficial device to prevent unnecessary deaths.#DontBeOnTheFence Please Share this petition in whatever way you can: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, word of mouth, so that one day this will become commonplace in the UK. If you want to learn more about the 'virtual fences' information can be found at:   or... Fox, et al., (2018), Roadkill mitigation: trialing virtual fence devices on the west coast of Tasmania, Australian Mammalogy, Personal storyMy name is Sam, I am 20 years old, and am currently studying Geography at university. I wanted to set up this petition because when I saw this idea I thought that it should be utilised everywhere- not just hidden away in Tasmania. If it can reduce road traffic accidents, or roadkill even slightly then surely it would be a success?

Sam Street
4,457 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP, Alex Chalk MP, Ruth George MP, Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Stephen Barclay MP

Make CRPS a properly recognised condition amongst health professionals in the UK & the NHS

CRPS which is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a rare chronic pain condition suffered by those of all ages and has been recognised by medicine under various names for a long while. Despite this it is still not recognised by many health practitioners (doctors, nurses, surgeons, physiotherapists, occupational therapists etc)  in the UK. This leads to unnecessary suffering, development of life changing symptoms and mental health problems.  CRPS is known by some as the "suicide disease" as it is the most painful condition known to medicine and can make life unbearable for the sufferer. In my case, I went from being an active 16 year old girl who loved kayaking, to one who was wheelchair bound and in and out of hospital just before I turned 19. Just from a minor knee sprain. From this I have had the condition spread to affect both my legs and my left wrist and hand, I developed anxiety, had a mental health scare, skin breakdown, loss of muscle function and dystonia which I have had to overcome multiple times, relearn to walk multiple times, accept that my medical team are my new best friends, that physiotherapy and pain management will be a life long commitment and essentially learn a new way of life with chronic pain and I am only 21. My story on Channel 5 National News CRPS Channel 5 News at 5pm   Yet on every occasion I have been admitted to hospital or visited a GP that wasn't the one I normally see, or been to hospital for something else. None of the doctors or nurses had a clue what CRPS was, with some going as far to say that it was all in my head and psychological. Which has been disproved as stated on the NHS website. Doctors on these occasions will ignore my requests to not grab or touch my legs or the fact I cannot move them because of pain and I have been accused of self harm due to the skin breakdown. When my CRPS spread to my hand and fingers, I went to get it checked on request by my normal GP, despite a splint being requested urgently the splint making department said I would have to wait two days to even be fitted with one let alone have access to hand therapy. If that physio had more awareness and understanding of CRPS and its complications she would have understood the urgency of the situation. This is only a small insight into the lack of understanding of CRPS in the UK, other problems include disjointed services across the UK in the NHS, extremely long waiting lists for pain clinics, a lottery over funding and treatment and not many health care practitioners being able to recognise and give primary treatment of or help manage CRPS. The first three things the government need to change is: - Increase the education of health practitioners on chronic pain especially neuropathic pain conditions, so that they can recognise and begin treatment earlier, and also understand patients and help them  rather than question  / dismiss them or tell them its psychological as above. - Create a tick box on NHS systems that means that all CRPS patients can be logged and therefore counted. Which would enable the specialist CRPS centres and pain centres to apply and access more funding. Leading to better research and treatments. - Make CRPS a recognised chronic condition with management services and treatment pathway to match, rather than saying there is nothing else we can do and leaving people stranded. If these three basic points are achieved the life of CRPS sufferers and their family and friends plus future  sufferers will be made a lot less stressful. Potential secondary conditions such as mental health conditions may be avoided in their severity. The more people who are treated efficiently and effectively from early on after recognition should lead to a greater number of people achieving remission plus those who have long term management and support  will enable them to lead better lives and potentially return to work or education. If the health system recognises CRPS in these ways then the care system including PIP (personal independence payments) and similar are more likely to also recognise the severity of the condition and provide more help. Finally if CRPS is recognised and management services are provided to match, then sufferers should be eligible for free NHS prescriptions as management of long term conditions is extremely expensive for the sufferer and their families. Even though I personally have only experienced a few problems with health practitioners compared to some sufferers, at times it has been very demoralising and unnerving for me and my family. Currently I don't see a health system that can continue managing CRPS the way it does and it is letting down numerous sufferers as it stands. I have friends with CRPS who are housebound, had their limbs amputated, are bed bound, suffered from sepsis the list is endless. They have all come across the lack of awareness and understanding amongst medical professionals and like me find it upsetting to say the least. As media and public awareness of the continues to grow more and more people may think and self diagnose CRPS but unless the medical practitioners on the front line understand and recognise CRPS there is not much that will happen. The longer people are left with CRPS the tendency is for it to worsen at various rates, leaving more demand on the health service, if there was more recognition amongst medical professionals and better general management strategies this may not happen and therefore reduce the strain long term on the NHS for example. Even if the government makes a few simple changes to the way health practitioners are trained and treat CRPS patients it would make a massive difference to myself and the community who deserve so much better!

Helena Stone
2,872 supporters
Petitioning Prof Sir Malcolm John Grant, Matthew Hancock MP, Rt. Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman MP, Julian Knight MP, Dr Richard Mendelsohn

Approve simple device to drastically improve lives of Type 1 Diabetics

Type 1 Diabetics from all walks of life from young children to the elderly struggle every hour of every day from the very moment we are diagnosed for the rest of our lives. Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic life long condition in which the pancreas produces no insulin. Insulin is the hormone our body needs to break down everything we eat or drink in order to allow sugar and carbohydrates to enter the body's cells to produce energy for our bodies to function. Without Insulin glucose builds up in a Diabetics body and causes serious complications and damage. Type 1 Diabetes cannot currently be cured unless you are one of the minute number of people who are given a Pancreas or Islet transplant due to severe complications as your Pancreas is damaged and cannot produce insulin any longer meaning we have to manually calculate the correct dosage of Insulin to inject ourselves with numerous times every day in order to break down every morsel of food we eat. It is absolutely critical we can measure our blood glucose throughout the day every day in order to enable us to manually and accurately calculate the insulin dosage to use at that point in the day/night. The only way we can complete this awful task is by piercing our own skin every time we need to test our blood which is approximately 10-12 times per day and night... and could be classed as self harm as we have to prick and pierce our own skin (sometimes numerous times as our skin is so damaged from the continual impact) which is painful, embarrassing and a constant depressing reminder of our debilitating conduction. Diabetes and treatment aims to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible and control your symptoms with careful management, healthy lifestyle and exercise to prevent/delay health problems developing later in life such as blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and even death. At long last a revolutionary small, simple, painless, easy device called the FreeStyle Libre has been developed to enable us Type 1 Diabetics to successfully and easily manage our own condition painlessly, privately, continually and cost effectively from home without having to damage and pierce our own skin numerous times per day every day and without needing constant ineffective, expensive, time consuming appointments with our GP (£45 per appointment) and eliminating/minimising additional HbA1c tests completed by additional NHS Health professionals (1,000,000 patients seen by NHS staff every 36 hours), reducing ineffective telephone calls to NHS 111 (£20 each call), each click onto the NHS choices website costs £0.46, and massively reducing emergency A&E visits (£124) and ultimately hospital admissions (19.7 million hospital admissions 16/17) which our NHS cannot cope with via emergency Ambulance call outs (£247 each one). When Type 1 Diabetics purchase these life changing/saving sensors privately and directly from Abbott they cost £48 (using our Disabled VAT ememprion option) meaning the NHS will pay far less resulting in a small cost difference between us having to use painful finger lancets plus blood test sticks or the amazing CGM alternative and surely we are worth more than a few pence in cost saving.   The Freestyle Libre has been available for 1 year now on prescription since November 2017 and NICE have published guidelines for suitability. The Freestyle Libre is so effective you no doubt have seen that even our Prime Minster Theresa May wears hers with pride.  But only 71% of our 207 UK CCG's (Clinical Commissioning Groups) are prescribing these life changing sensors, 29% of the CCG’s are currently discriminating by still not funding these clever, simple, life enhancing and cost effective devices for all of their suitable patients dependant totally upon post-code..... Why & how is this allowed to happen in the UK today ???

Claire White
2,599 supporters
Save Further Education in Northumberland

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this petition set up by Jacqui Dixon. We are focusing the skills budget where it can have most impact. This will focus on providing young adults with the skills they need for sustainable work, skills training for unemployed adults, and English and maths for all those who have yet to achieve a Grade A*-C, recognising these are essential requirements for sustainable employment. Apprenticeships and Traineeships will be a particular priority. Full funding rules are available at: Of course, older learners need additional help so we have made more funding available for Advanced Learning Loans, enabling learners to access support to help meet up-front fees, and removing one of the main barriers to learning. The petition suggests that in areas of high unemployment such as the North East, people are discouraged from taking on a government backed Advanced Learning Loan. Applications for loans in their first year of operation (over 66,000 to the end of April) have been strong. In recent meetings with providers and stakeholders from across the FE sector we received positive feedback on the way the loans programme has been implemented. I believe that Advanced Learning Loans provide an opportunity for individuals to undertake learning which should improve their employment prospects at no up-front cost and are only repayable when they are earning £21,000. For younger learners, our priority remains to provide a high-quality study programme for every 16-19 year old, especially 16 year olds who are now legally required to participate. To that end despite a decrease in the population of 16-18 year olds we will be funding in 2014/15 at least as many places as were filled in the academic year 2013/14. We will be reducing funding for 18-year-olds to £3,300 compared to £4,000 for 16- and 17-year-olds. Students without GCSE grade C in English or mathematics and those with statements of special education needs, learning disability assessments or education, health and care plans are excluded from this reduction. Full-time 18-year-olds will still be funded for programmes broadly the same size as the core element of programmes they undertook prior to 2013/14. For the academic year 2014/15 we will cap any losses resulting from this change to the funding for 18-year-olds at 2% of the institution’s programme funding, protecting more than 450 schools and colleges that would otherwise have lost more than 2% of their funding from the 18-year-olds funding reduction. Full funding rules are available at: I appreciate that any budget reductions are unwelcome and Northumberland College, like all providers, will have had to re-prioritise its provision. However, in order to reduce the budget deficit, reductions to programme funding have been necessary and I believe that the funding priorities we have established are the right ones. The College’s 2014/15 Adult Skills Budget will be £3,092,460 plus an increased Advanced Learning Loan allocation of £756,036, representing a total £890,519 reduction. Its 16-19 budget will be reduced by £60,000 to £7,378,751 (excluding student support funding). One of our key funding priorities is Apprenticeships which equip people of all ages with the skills that employers need to compete and grow. I was therefore disappointed to read in the petition that small employers in the North East are reluctant to take on an apprentice due to bureaucracy. Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and high quality training opportunities like Apprenticeships are key to supporting their growth and success. Many small business employers already recognise the benefits of recruiting Apprentices and recent evidence suggests that about half of all Apprenticeship employers are small, with 1-24 employees. However, many small businesses are not engaged and are missing out on the opportunities that Apprenticeships offer for improving productivity and supporting sustainability and we want to address that. We are therefore making it easier to take on an Apprentice by cutting back on bureaucracy and replacing complex frameworks with simple standards set by employers. The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers also provides support for smaller employers taking on young apprentices aged 16-24. The Budget announced an additional £170 million funding over the next two years to support the current very high demand for the grant. The additional support will fund over 100,000 additional incentive payments. The grant has been particularly successful at removing barriers to smaller businesses taking on their first apprentices. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the college and all the work it does in Northumberland, particularly in view of the employment and skills challenges facing people in the communities it serves. I know that local colleges play an important role in inspiring people and equipping them with the skills that they need to engage more successfully with their local labour markets. Matthew Hancock

5 years ago