Professor Mike Barnes has described a notice in an NHS pain specialist ward that tells patients they will not be prescribed cannabis medicine as “a disgrace to the profession”.
As we reported earlier this week, the notice says: “Following advice from our professional associations the pain consultants and allied clinical staff will not be recommending or prescribing medical cannabis for chronic pain patients. In our opinion the risk of serious side effects far outweighs any reported benefit.”
Barnes, who has set up two organisations in Britain to educate doctors about cannabis medicine, told UKCSC: “This notice is appalling. First it shows an astonishing level of ignorance and demonstrates that they have not reviewed the considerable literature on the subject.
“Second, a statement about serious side effects is laughable when compared to the drugs that are prescribed. Third, it shows huge disrespect to their patients who simply want a sensible discussion around the issues. A blanket ban like this is a disgrace to the profession.”
The hospital that put the notice up is Royal Derby Hospital, which is listed as an “NHS and private patients unit”. The doctors listed on the notice all work for private health provider BUPA. Clearly this ‘NHS’ pain specialist department has been outsourced to the private sector, sucking money out of the NHS and raising the costs of running it.
The hospital’s behaviour is of course no surprise. Earlier this month the all-party parliamentary group for medical cannabis condemned the workings of the new cannabis medicine licensing regime.
UKCSC chairman Greg de Hoedt said: “The pain medications that these specialist pain clinics prescribe on a daily basis to multiple patients consist of Amitriptyline, Gabapentin, Lyrica, Tramadol and Fentanyl just to name a few. These carry significant side effects that include but are not limited to confusion, loss of feeling in limbs, headaches, blurred vision, seizures, nausea, stroke, liver failure, memory loss, vomiting, difficulty urinating, constipation, depression, weight gain, suicidal thoughts. Several even say ‘may cause a heart rate of zero’. Are these not scary side effects that cannabis not only doesn’t cause but is used for to treat?”
I’ve asked my gp for access to medical cannabis after Devon & Cornwall police forcibly removed my medicine , I am a type 1 diabetic with degenerative spinal disease among many other conditions, he referred me to the pain clinic and they dismissed my request for these very reasons
— Douglas Hughes#FBPE (@DugwanHughes) 24 January 2019
As we said on Twitter, if you see any similar signs, take a picture and let us know – they need to be exposed!
At the time of publishing the Royal Derby Hospital had not responded to a request for it to comment.