Sir Mike Penning: Time for specialists’ ‘disappointing’ attitude to cannabis medicine to change


Sir Mike Penning, the co-chairman of the cross-party parliamentary group on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription, has urged health specialists to get behind the prescription of cannabis medicine which they have been made responsible for from 1 November.

He said that there had ‘disappointing reaction’ from many health professionals so far, as many had refused to refer patients to the interim expert panel that has been deciding on prescriptions over the autumn.

Penning welcomed the “momentous” decision and commended the Home Secretary “for taking these bold and decisive steps”.

‘It has reversed decades of backward thinking on this important issue by successive governments. There is still much detailed work to be done.”

But he warned: “Since the high-profile cases of the summer involving the young children with epilepsy there has been a very disappointing reaction from a large number of consultants and health trusts, with many refusing to even submit applications to the interim medical cannabis expert panel.

“This announcement puts the ball now firmly in the court of the health professionals and health authorities to approach this new and exciting field of UK medicine with an open mind.”

Last week we reported on the case of Caroline Burns, whose neurologists refused to refer her to the expert panel despite the fact that her use of cannabis has extended her life since she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Ashok Soni OBE, has said that his organisation “will work with the NHS to help support specialists in making the right prescribing decisions”.

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