Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure medicinal cannabis is accessible via GPs.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The law was changed on 1 November 2018 to allow clinicians on the General Medical Council’s ‘Specialist Register’ to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use, where clinically appropriate and in the best interest of patients. The Government has been clear that decisions on whether to prescribe these products must remain a clinical one.

In developing this policy and in-line with the advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, restrictions have been put in place to maintain patient safety, minimise risk of diversion. Provisions around safety and quality assurances that would be expected of any unlicensed medicine in the United Kingdom have also been implemented. The regulations restrict the decision to prescribe these products to specialist doctors on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register. General practitioners are not able to prescribe these products independently. Patients will need to be referred to a specialist doctor, on the basis of clinical need, in order to be prescribed such products. It should also be noted that for those conditions where there is a clinical need for cannabis-based products, it is likely the patient would already be under the care of a specialist doctor.

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