Government must intervene since the UK’s medical cannabis crisis has reached breaking point – PoliticsHome

Government must intervene as the UK’s medical cannabis crisis has now reached breaking point
Alberto Costa MP

Government must urgently establish a crisis compassionate access fund in order that families may continue to access medical cannabis through the NHS.

On 1 November 2018, access to health cannabis was made legal in the UK. This promised to be a milestone moment for individuals throughout the nation with states for that medical cannabis has revealed efficacy. 

One specific patient cohort having a high amount of interest in medical cannabis has been, and isalso the kids affected by acute drug resistant epilepsy. After allthis law change came about after large profile campaigning with me and fellow parliamentarians along with those families whose lives were transformed by medical cannabis.

But nearly three years what should have been a watershed moment has resulted in very little change for all these families that were affected. It must be deeply regretted this, by all accounts, only three NHS prescriptions have been issued throughout our nation for the sort of medical cannabis that’s life changing for the kids affected. Therefore, notwithstanding that law change which I successfully campaigned for, families continue to be forced to pay up to #2500 per month to purchase on a private prescription that desperately needed medical cannabis medication due to their severely sick children. This isn’t acceptable.

The grim fact is that there is a serious threat of a Number of these families running out of capital and consequently medicine within weeks

In my own South Leicestershire constituency, I have been working closely with two families who have a child suffering from a rare form of epilepsy. They are campaigning underneath the’End Our Pain’ banner to get an NHS prescription. Like many countless families across our nation, their problem is heart breaking. They, along with the additional End Our Pain families, simply cannot manage to pay tens of thousands per month simply to keep their kids safe. Their attempts to fundraise this money have also been curbed by Covid-19 restrictions, raising the financial pressure and worry still further.

It is not an exaggeration to say that these families have reached financial and emotional breaking point. The grim fact is that there is a serious threat of some of these families running out of capital and so the medicine within weeks, leaving these kids to face up to 300 life threatening ailments every day. It is for this reason that I’m calling on my colleagues in government and senior NHS leaders to take care of this matter as extremely pressing and find a practical solution.

To be clear, the kind of medical cannabis these children gain from contains two main components: CBD and THC often known as”whole plant extract”.  There have been a few more NHS prescriptions for all types of medical cannabis that are mostly CBD only.

My investigations to the NHS prescriptions continue to get blocked reveal a mire of often confusing’guidance’ from various sources interlaced using an NHS statutes and regulatory regime ill-suited to handle the multi active component nature of medical cannabis.

The kids involved do not have the luxury of time. It is for this reason that I’m calling on the authorities to establish a crisis compassionate access fund at this time so my constituents and other families may continue to access this legal medication until the larger problems pertaining to NHS access are solved.

Alberto Costa is the Conservative MP for South Leicestershire and co-chair of the APPG for Access to Medical Cannabis Under Prescription.


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