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UK: First person in UK to get cannabis prescription says NHS is failing patients like her
Saturday 22 Dec 2018
Carly Barton got her legal prescription through a private doctor Her attempts to get an NHS prescription have, so far, failed The first person in the UK to get a cannabis prescription says NHS patients are being denied the legal medicine. Carly Barton said if the system does not improve soon she will be forced to break the law to get black market medication. Ms Barton, 32, who is now a deputy director at the United Patients Alliance advocacy group, said trying to get NHS treatment has been “like being blacklisted”.
She suffered a stroke in her 20s and developed fibromyalgia – a condition that causes constant pain. She says other approved strong opioids, including morphine and fentanyl, do not work for her and leave her feeling “zombied”. She was the first person in the UK to get a cannabis prescription at the start of December via a private doctor. Her attempts to get an NHS prescription have, so far, failed. Appointment cancelled Carly Barton has spent thousands of pounds for her cannabis prescription (Photo: Carly Barton) Carly Barton has spent thousands of pounds for her cannabis prescription (Photo: Carly Barton) Ms Barton, a former fine art lecturer from Brighton, said: “It’s like being blacklisted. They won’t even let me in the door to discuss it. “I spoke to a staff member who looked at my record and told me I would have to go to another county for treatment. I will try to get a referral somewhere in London now. “It took me months to get this first appointment. I’ll probably have to wait another six months. I’m going to have to break the law again.” She was the first patient in the UK to be prescribed the unlicensed drug by a private doctor, and it cost £2,500 for treatment for three months. She says she cannot afford another private prescription, and if NHS policy does not change soon it will force her and other patients to break the law. Remaining Time -0:24 She went to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, for an appointment which she said was confirmed by letter. On arrival, there was no booking in her name and she and was told to seek treatment elsewhere, she said. Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said it refused the referral – made by Ms Barton’s GP in August for a medication review to discuss an NHS prescription for medicinal cannabis – because the law had not changed when it was received. The letter confirming an appointment was an “administrative error”, it added. A trust spokeswoman said it does not blacklist patients. But she also confirmed any fresh referral would still be rejected because it is not a service the trust is “currently able to provide” and it is awaiting NHS guidance on which organisations will be able to offer this treatment. An NHS England spokeswoman said: “If a trust has specialist doctors there should be no reason why it [medicinal cannabis] cannot be prescribed.” Ms Barton said: “The guidelines do not work and need to change.” What are the NHS guidelines? The guidelines state that cannabis should only be provided to patients where there is clear published evidence of it’s efficacy or where licensed medicines have been exhausted. Very few people in England are likely to be prescribed medical cannabis. Currently, it is only likely to be children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy or adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy. Even with these, it would only be considered when other treatments weren’t suitable or hadn’t helped.
Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/first-person-in-uk-to-get-cannabis-prescription-says-nhs-is-failing-patients-like-her/
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