'There is a “serious cultural block within the NHS around medical cannabis”, according to MPs.
The criticism comes after it emerged that the family of the first child to be prescribed medical cannabis after its legalisation must pay almost £10,000 a year to access the privately prescribed medicine as they follow a bureaucratic “assault course”.
The all-party parliamentary group for medical cannabis condemned the workings of the current licensing regime, saying it cannot have been what the government envisaged when they legalised medical cannabis in November.
“For Jorja [Emerson] and her family this is a great day and I commend the private consultant, supported by her private hospital, who has taken the courageous decision to prescribe a medical cannabis product which she genuinely feels is in the best interest of her patient,” said Mike Penning MP, co-chair of the group.
“But the fact remains that there is a serious cultural block within the NHS around medical cannabis. Other families, many with children just as seriously ill as Jorja, continue to face a complete block from their NHS medical teams.”
He said most families did not have the means to go private, and in any case “the number of even private clinicians willing to prescribe appears to be in low single figures”.
“I do not believe that this is what the prime minister and home secretary envisaged when they made the bold change in the law on 1 November to reschedule medical cannabis to enable consultants to prescribe it,” he added.'
Read more: MPs criticise NHS over failure to prescribe medical cannabis
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