MP recalls son with epilepsy as he emotionally advocates for access to cannabis oil


A Labor MP was on the verge of tears when he said he wished he had ‘the courage’ to investigate whether medical cannabis could have saved his son, who died of epilepsy.

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald spoke in the House of Commons about his son Rory, who died “when he was only 16, 15 years ago,” and called on the House not to block measures that could help children with epilepsy today.

The MP’s plea came during a debate on the Medical Cannabis (Access) Bill, which sets out measures to provide better access and medical evidence for the use of treatment.

Mr McDonald said: ‘We were faced with the locked status of our beloved Rory and I vividly remember calling the ambulance and taking him to the hospital where a consultant told us that we better call a priest. “

His voice faltering, he added, “So for all of us, my wife Sally, my son Paddy and my daughter Rosie, holding Rory as he died.

“I never want one of these families to suffer such a result. I bitterly regret that I did not show the courage and determination of people like Hannah Deacon to get this medicine for her child.

“Oh how I wish I had been as good as her.”

Ms Deacon is the mother of epileptic boy Alfie Dingle, receiving cannabis oil medication, who has campaigned for wider access to treatment.

Mr McDonald said he was unsure whether medical cannabis would have helped his son, but added: “I beg the members not to speak to this bill today as they have been asked to do. , but to do the right thing and help take this small step today to help remove one of the barriers that stand in the way of people who desperately need these treatments and get them access to this treatment. that changes life, even that saves lives.

Jeff Smith, the Labor MP who sponsored the bill, told MPs: ‘A significant number of people who would benefit from the NHS prescribing medical cannabis are not able to get the prescriptions they need . “

Manchester MP Withington said only three prescriptions for cannabis medicines had been issued since the treatment was legalized in 2018, adding that he was told there were around 10,000 private prescriptions in the UK.

Mr Smith said some people “pay a fortune” for private prescriptions, while others become “medical cannabis exiles” in the Netherlands, where Bedrolite cannabis oil treatment is more readily available. .

The MP’s bill proposes a new commission on medical cannabis, which could give doctors and NHS bodies “more confidence in the evidence of prescribing these particular unlicensed drugs”.

Commission is reportedly investigating alternative drug testing methods because randomized controlled tests, the current “gold standard” of medical evidence for drug testing, are “unsuitable” for cannabis-based drugs. “Whole plant extract,” according to Smith.

The bill also aims to create a register of general practitioners with specialist knowledge to prescribe treatment.

Conservative MP Katherine Fletcher (South Ribble) said: “I think it is difficult for elected officials to be in a position where we strongly push the system to tell medically qualified people who have taken an oath what to do.”

She added that the commission proposed by the bill did not follow established methods of medical testing and cannot provide a “positive evidence base.”

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