Mother of severely epileptic daughter calls on Government to release medical cannabis

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A mother who tried to bring medical cannabis oils into the UK illegally for her severely epileptic daughter has obtained a prescription from a UK doctor.

Campaigner Emma Appleby is now calling on the Government to urgently release the confiscated medicine for nine-year-old Teagan, who suffers up to 300 seizures a day.

“There is now no legal obstacle to releasing the medicine. They need to return it, and fast,” said Sir Mike Penning MP, co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription.

Ms Appleby said: “The Home Office told me that I couldn’t have an emergency import licence as Teagan’s prescription was from a Dutch doctor.

“To my great relief a supportive UK specialist doctor has now written a UK prescription.

“I’ve done everything that I’ve been asked to do and jumped through every hoop.

“I can’t do any more. I’m exhausted.

“In the name of compassion I’m pleading with the Government to return Teagan’s medicine.

“Every day that she is without it is a day too many.”

Ms Appleby and her partner Lee flew back from the Netherlands on Saturday morning carrying a supply the oils for Teagan, who suffers from rare chromosomal disorder Isodicentric 15 as well as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

But the items, which cost £4,600, were seized after the family landed at Southend Airport in Essex.

The law in the UK was changed last November to make access to medical cannabis legal but parents have been struggling to secure prescriptions, in part due to reluctance within the medical community.

The family (pictured), from Aylesham near Dover, flew out on Thursday, got the medicine prescribed by a paediatric neurologist at the Erasmus Hospital in Rotterdam, collected it from a pharmacy and paid using their own and fundraised money.

Ms Appleby was comforted in Southend Airport’s terminal building by fellow campaigner Hannah Deacon, who last year became the first to be allowed to bring THC oil through a UK airport legally for her seven-year-old son Alfie Dingley, who has epilepsy.

NHS England guidance says it expects that cannabis-based products for medicinal use should “only be prescribed for indications where there is clear published evidence of benefit” and in “patients where there is a clinical need which cannot be met by a licensed medicine and where established treatment options have been exhausted”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the Commons last month that his “heart goes out” to parents experiencing anguish over difficulties in obtaining medicinal cannabis.

He said he is working to “unblock” some of the challenges in the system but, ultimately, “these things need to be clinician-led”.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire.