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Medical Cannabis Under Prescription

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:09 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 8:09 pm, 20th May 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments. Prescription is in the hands of the clinician. Whether the prescription is paid for is ruled on locally and I will talk about that later.

I would like to tell my right hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead that a report, including any recommendations, is expected shortly. We will carefully consider any further action we might take to improve access in the light of that report and the clinical guidelines that are due to be issued by NICE. Members are rightly frustrated with the slow pace, because of the distressing cases and because of examples they have seen from abroad. NICE guidelines have been expedited. They would normally take two years to produce, but these guidelines will come out in half that time, this autumn.

Members have said that patient expectations are not being met and that clinicians are taking an overly cautious approach. With new medicines, we need a strong evidence base. That base is still in development, partly because of the historical overhang.