A mother has said police and social services were called after a school refused to give her epileptic daughter a cannabis oil prescription.
Tannine Montgomery’s daughter Indie-Rose Clarry suffers from Dravet syndrome. The five-year-old had been having around 40 potentially life-threatening seizures each month and has been prescribed cannabis oil by a private doctor.
However as her prescription is imported her school is refusing to give the medication. To ensure that she does not go with her medication her mum has to complete the 45 mile round trip to give her daughter the oil.
The school had also confiscated the medication in the past and informed the police and social services.
Peter Carroll, from the End Our Pain campaign, said: ‘I think this appalling case shows one awful part of the barrage of trauma that we pile on to the families of these vulnerable children who need access to their medication that is now legal.
Tannine, said: ‘They just kept telling me it is illegal. It is not the case, my doctors have written to them. They just keep coming back and saying it’s illegal. ‘I want to go back to work but I’m spending most of my day going to school to administer the medicine. ‘We have a prescription and the school will administer other private prescriptions but not ours. ‘The idea that it has to be from a UK pharmacy is ridiculous. ‘The dosing information is in English and the school has a letter from my NHS doctor saying it is suitable for Indie. ‘The school has told me they have rung the police and social services. ‘I am so worried about social services coming. I have nothing to hide but it’s additional unfair stress.’
Parents have found they cannot easily access the medicines without paying thousands of pounds for an import licence, even though the rulings changed in 2018. In addition, many doctors will not prescribe them, citing a lack of official guidance on the issue.
Tannine obtains the cannabis oil from the Netherlands using the prescription written by the UK doctor. Although it is illegal to import such medicines without a special licence, she said UK Border Force officials have let her into the country with the drug. The mum added: ‘Their tests show it does not have a high enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration for them to confiscate it and so they let us through. ‘To obtain a special import licence would cost us £4,500 per month as opposed to the £1,500 we pay for the drug at the moment.’
Suffolk County Council, the authority responsible for Riverwalk School, said: ‘School leaders, including governors, set policy regarding how medication is managed in a school setting. ‘Schools and teachers are not contractually obliged to give medication or to supervise a pupil taking it. ‘It is a voluntary activity, however an agreement can be reached between the parents and the school to support a child’s medical needs, in accordance with the school’s own policy.’ A Riverwalk School spokesman said: ‘We fully sympathise with the parents. ‘However, Riverwalk School will not administer any medication to pupils which has not been prescribed by a doctor in the UK and filled by a UK pharmacy. ‘This is in accordance with our school’s medical policy.’
Image – Klimkin