A Kent MP has spoken in parliament about a mother’s fight to have access to NHS funded medical cannabis for her epileptic daughter.
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, has been supporting a campaign by mum Emma Appleby whose daughter Teagan has severe epilepsy.
Teagan, 12, relies on medical cannabis to manage a rare form of the condition and her mum Emma has spent years fighting for medical cannabis on prescription to ease her symptoms.
After her latest appeal was rejected in April, Emma again contacted her MP Natalie Elphicke for help.
Ms Elphicke, who has been supporting Emma since she was first elected in 2019, has raised the issue in parliament.
She expressed how she is backing new measures to have NHS funded medical cannabis so that Teagan and fellow sufferers can get the vital medicine they need easily.
Ms Elhhicke said in her speech in House of Commons: “Teagan Appleby needs medical cannabis to improve her serious health condition. Without it, she suffers from fits. With it, she is so much better. That is why I support the prescription of medical cannabis on the NHS for little Teagan and the other children who clearly need it.
“I pay tribute Teagan’s mum, Emma, who has been a tireless and energetic campaigner on behalf of her daughter to get the medical treatment that she needs.”
Doctors have again refused to prescribe the drug for Teagan, even though it was licensed for medical use four years ago and is now being routinely used by other children.
Having consulted experts in the impact of medical cannabis on childhood epilepsy, Emma believes her daughter will benefit from having a higher CBD concentration in her medication. This could be achieved by a prescription of the CBD isolate drug Epidyolex.
However, when Emma approached King’s College Hospital, London and asked to be considered for a prescription, her request was turned down on the grounds that she had previously used the medicine under the compassionate access scheme that preceded its full licensing, and then moved to another whole plant extract medicine when Teagan’s condition deteriorated.
Speaking last month, Emma said: “Despite the consistent improvement in Teagan’s quality of life when being administered whole plant extract medical cannabis I have been systematically denied an NHS prescription for it because it’s not licensed and have had to fundraise relentlessly for the last four years to buy it privately.
“And now, when I ask for a prescription of the one relevant medical cannabis drug that is licensed, I am told ‘no’ because I have used it previously. This feels like another slap in the face.”
The only way Teagan can access something similar is if the family finds £2,000 a month for an unlicensed drug.
Natalie has met with Teagan’s mother at their home in Aylesham to discuss the difficulties that Teagan faces and the importance of getting medical cannabis prescribed through the NHS.
Ms Elphicke added: “I have met with the Health Secretary and other health ministers to raise the unfair situation that Teagan and her mother face. I will continue to press ministers to ensure that action is taken so children like Teagan can access medical cannabis treatment through the NHS.”