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Epilepsy: Cannabis

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to maintain private prescriptions of medical cannabis to vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what financial support his Department is providing to families with severely epileptic children who are reliant on private prescriptions for medical cannabis and whose ability to fundraise for those prescriptions is limited by covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will provide temporary financial support to the families of vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy who cannot (a) access or (b) fund-raise for private prescriptions for medical cannabis during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the ability of families of vulnerable children with intractable epilepsy to a) fund and b) maintain access to private prescriptions for medical cannabis; and if he will make statement.

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

As part of our concerted national efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department is working closely with industry and others in the supply chain to help ensure patients can access the medicines they need, whether on the National Health Service or privately. The supply of unlicensed cannabis-based products is no different. The Government has also recently changed its policy on imports, so that patients can access their prescribed medicines more quickly and be better assured their treatment will not be interrupted.

No assessment has been made of the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of this patient group to maintain funding to private prescriptions for unlicensed medicinal cannabis, and no additional funding is being provided beyond the financial package to provide additional support for public services, individuals and businesses experiencing financial difficulties during COVID-19.

For those who rely on fundraising events to access private medicines, events which do not involve people gathering in one place may still go ahead provided they comply with Government policy and guidelines which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-act-2016-new-fundraising-rules

And further advice on fundraising is available at the following link:

https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/more-from-us/news/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-fundraising

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