MP RESPONSES TO FAMILIES LETTERS & FURTHER ENCOURAGEMENT FOR MP SUPPORT
August 8, 2018
A few weeks ago Families 4 Access together with the United Patients Alliance provided the template of a letter to be sent out to your local MP and encouraged you to share the feedback you receive from them. Thank you to everyone who got in touch with us.
The results varied from their local MP not responding at all, to a full engagement by some of more considerate MPs. Several MPs were active on this issue in Parliament, like Geoff Smith MP, George Freeman MP, Mike Penning MP, and a few others.
Here are some of the positive responses our patients received:
I sympathise profoundly with the situation faced by those who are living in severe pain and are in search of the most effective relief. I support the legal prescription of cannabis oil for medical purposes. I assure you I will follow the Government's progress in this area closely and bear in mind the points you have raised.
Marie Rimmer CBE, MP (Labour)
We have seen in recent months that there is a pressing need to allow those who might benefit from cannabis-based products to access them. This is why I welcome the action the Government has taken in the short term to establish an expert panel of clinicians to advise Ministers on any applications to prescribe cannabis-based medicines. This is intended to ensure that advice to Ministers on licensing in these cases is clinically led, based firmly upon medical evidence and is as swift as possible. It is crucial that this country keeps in step with the latest scientific evidence, so that patients and their families have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment.
Helen Grant MP (Con)
We need action now to ensure there are no more cases like Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell. The review process must not be an excuse for delaying access to cannabis oil for those who need it. I have called for the Home Secretary to commit to using his licensing powers in all serious cases where there is appropriate medical advice to do so. Action must be taken now to ensure no further harm is done to people with debilitating and life threatening illnesses.
Diane Abbott MP (Labour)
Why do we need MPs to get involved?
We shared a Patients’ Guide, collaboratively written by UPA and F4A, and Mummy’s Guide, written for families & carers by Charlotte Caldwell herself, to help with patients’ interim applications, especially as so many feedback that the interim process doesn’t work. We need MPs to help their constituents navigate this process, just like the Caldwell’s family’s MP Órfhlaith Begley of West Tyrone did so brilliantly.
While the government has proven to be a constructive partner so far, we rely upon MPs to put pressure on the government to ensure their constituents get what they need from the newly established process. It’s been wonderful to have the positive response from some of the MPs with many saying they support access to cannabis-based medicine, but we need to move the issue further.
Our current priorities where we need MPs help and support are:
- Assist their constituents with their applications
- Call for cannabis derived medicine to come out of the remit of the Home Office and be led by the Department of Health
- The Department of Health must set out the guidelines to GPs and clinicians, so they could provide the required support to the families
- The Department of Health must provide appropriate training to the doctors - this is an issue of utmost importance
- Cannabis-based medicine should not be defined as the drug of “last resort”. Let the doctors decide the most appropriate treatment for their patients, without restrictions
- Monitor the psychological and psychiatric state of the patients who use high THC medicine to ensure that their treatment is safe and appropriate
- Provide funds and facilitate investment in cannabis research
Please continue to encourage the MPs to be proactive on this issue and call for the government’s action on our immediate priorities, and be so kind to report their response back to us. You are welcome to forward this email with our priorities to them for their attention.
Marina Kim on behalf of Families 4 Access &
Jon Liebling on behalf of United Patients Alliance