Tony Lloyd demands the government makes medical cannabis available to those in need

Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, has called on the government to fix the crisis affecting the families with children suffering from extreme epilepsy who cannot secure NHS prescriptions for medical cannabis, a treatment which has proved to be life saving and life transforming for their children.

Tony said,
“Medical cannabis was legalised four years ago, but many patients still can’t get access and for those who should benefit, their suffering continues. Quite frankly, that’s outrageous.

“There is considerable benefit of access to medical cannabis. In some cases, patients who are almost comatose after being pumped full of powerful pharmaceutical drugs and still wracked by seizures are almost seizure free and living close-to-normal lives after having access to treatment.

“On the back of the law change, there is now a growing private medical cannabis sector issuing prescriptions for a range of conditions in adults which was made possible by the 2018 law change, a change which is largely down to the campaigning efforts of the families of the children with extreme epilepsy, and yet, no other similar families can get access to the medicine.

“The government must now look at ways to overcome the current clinical barriers. My message to the government is clear: get on with it.”

Tony joins several cross-party MPs calling for change. Writing to the Health Minister Sajid Javid, they state “the grim reality is that, since you, in your role as Home Secretary, granted Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell licences to have access to whole plant extract medical cannabis, only 3 NHS prescriptions have been issued for this type of medical cannabis that continues to be life transforming for these children. This is despite the law change of November 2018. Dozens of other families have had no other option but to continue to raise up to £2000 per month to fund private prescriptions. And now, revisions to guidance from the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) appear to be shutting down access to further private prescriptions.”

They go on to write that “we hope that you will consider convening a roundtable of the relevant stakeholders to try and find solutions,” adding that the “the Government is uniquely placed to bring all the key stakeholders together.