Monday, 28 October 2019

Campaign response: End Our Pain "URGENT: Queen's Speech NHS Debate - medical cannabis"

Thank you to constituents who have written to me about patients who have not been able to access medical cannabis despite the government's decision to legalise it last year.

I fully understand the strength of feeling expressed on this matter and how keen many are to improve access to medical cannabis.

When I spoke about this issue in Parliament last December, one of the points I made was that much more needs to be done to ensure that cannabis for medicinal use gets to the people who really need it, and more needs to be done to get medical professionals on board and adjusted to the new regime.

A number scientific studies have documented the benefits of prescription cannabis and cannabis-based products in certain medical treatments. Indeed, much progress has been made recently on allowing the medicinal use of cannabis products.

I am pleased to learn from constituents that in March, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, met face to face with many of the families that the campaign group End Our Pain are supporting.

This shows that the Secretary of State and his department are serious about improving access to medical cannabis for those who genuinely need it.

I will continue to monitor this issue closely and speak up for constituents who wants to see this form of prescription effectively dispensed to patients who need it.

At the same time there needs to the right safeguards in place to ensure that the system is not subject to abuse. Recreational cannabis ruins lives and I have seen this happen first hand.

As I am now Private Parliamentary Secretary to the Department for Health and Social Care I regret to inform constituents that I am not in a position to speak during the Queen's Speech debate on the NHS. Constituents will also be aware that this has now been delayed due to the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement bill in the Commons. However they can have my assurance that I understand the point they are making and agree with them that more needs to be done.