Panel assessing medicinal cannabis claims not fit for purpose: professor

BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

A new panel assessing claims for medicinal cannabis use, set up amid an outcry over the case of severely epileptic boy Billy Caldwell, is “not fit for purpose”, a professor believes.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/panel-assessing-medicinal-cannabis-claims-not-fit-for-purpose-professor-37069218.html

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A new panel assessing claims for medicinal cannabis use, set up amid an outcry over the case of severely epileptic boy Billy Caldwell, is “not fit for purpose”, a professor believes.

Mike Barnes, honorary professor of neurological rehabilitation at the University of Newcastle, said the conditions announced by the panel were likely to add barriers for those seeking treatment, and should be reviewed urgently.

The temporary expert panel began accepting applications for licences for the drug from senior clinicians on Wednesday.

It follows public uproar over the confiscation of cannabis oil from Co Tyrone mother Charlotte Caldwell as she attempted to bring it into the UK for her 12-year-old son.

The boy was later granted a limited licence for the drug to be administered in hospital for 20 days.

The Home Office announced the panel will make “swift” recommendations to ministers, who will then sign off on applications within two to four weeks.

If given approval, doctors can then start writing prescriptions for their patients, while ministers decide whether to remove cannabis’s banned status as a medicine.

Doctors will have to show there is an “exceptional clinical need” and no other medicine would be suitable for their patient in order to convince the panel.

Professor Barnes said: “Last week the announcement of this panel offered hope to thousands of patients and parents across the UK for whom medical cannabis might offer a real and lasting solution to their pain and suffering.

“However, the terms announced

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