Stop the NHS Denying Patients Access to Medical Cannabis

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Earlier this year we won a long, hard battle to get my son Alfie Dingley, who suffers from epilepsy, access full extract medical cannabis. 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.

The guidelines are so restrictive that if it wasn't for his special licence even my son Alfie would be refused a prescription, even though his was one of the high-profile cases that reached the heart of the nation and led to the change in the law.  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!  9 year old Teagan (pictured) is currently in a London Hospital in intensive care as a result of her epilepsy.  After a long struggle, doctors there have been persuaded to let her have access to a form of medical cannabis.  That’s a small step in the right direction.  But Emma wants her daughter to have the same kind of medical cannabis that Alfie has containing THC.

We are suddenly back to square one.

I’m worried that once my son Alfie’s temporary medical cannabis license runs out, I could be in the same situation too.

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 Teagan and the many other patients who are suffering by signing this petition.

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