Sir Mike Penning led a debate in the House of Commons yesterday and called for urgent action in the case of severely epileptic children who are still not getting access to cannabis-based medication on the NHS despite the law being changed six months ago.
Sir Mike, who applied to the Backbench Business Committee last week, secured the debate as despite the law change only a handful of prescriptions for whole-plant-extract medical cannabis have been issued on the NHS. This has left a significant number of patients, many of whom are children with intractable epilepsy, with no access to medical cannabis and experiencing severe distress.
Speaking afterwards he said:
“It is a nonsense that even though we have changed the law, the NHS is still not issuing prescriptions to patients that need it – particular young children suffering severe epilepsy. Parents are having to resort to raising money to fund private prescriptions and travelling abroad. This means that those who have funding can get it and those who do not can’t because it is not available on the NHS. This is wrong.
“There is ample research from other countries that proves the benefits. Some high-profile cases, such as Alfie Dingley, who I took to meet the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street, have seen a remarkable improvement. He has had no seizures for over 300 days and can now ride a bike.
“We need to ensure all children who need it can get it and see their lives improved the way that Alfie’s has done.”