NHS patients are being refused access to medical cannabis while private doctors prescribe it, in an emerging “two-tier system”, experts and campaigners have said.
While private patients have enjoyed much greater access to medical cannabis following its legalisation last year, paying hundreds of pounds a month for appointments and prescriptions, the picture is very different for patients relying on the NHS, according to the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and the campaign group End Our Pain.
Prof Mike Barnes, the director of The Medical Cannabis Clinics, criticised how access to medical cannabis was apparently much easier for wealthier people.
“It is appalling that we’ve got this effectively two-tier system, because most people simply cannot afford private sector fees for appointments and the cannabis itself,” he said. “You have a system where if you can afford it you can get it. It’s time the NHS got its act together and caught up with reality.”
The health secretary, Matt Hancock acknowledged in the House of Commons on Monday that the current system for prescribing medical cannabis was not working.
He told MPs he had asked NHS England “rapidly to initiate a process evaluation to address barriers to clinically appropriate p