A boy who was one of the first people to receive an NHS medical cannabis prescription will today complete a 1000 mile walk to raise awareness and funds for other people who desperately need access to medical cannabis in the UK.
Billy Caldwell and his mother Charlotte will reach their final destination of Westminster after a 1000-mile walk from their home in Belfast via the British Crown Dependency Islands. They are seeking a roundtable meeting with Matt Hancock and the National Institute for Health Research and propose a specially designed study for medical cannabis.
The I am Billy campaign is calling for the UK’s first specially designed study, to be paid for by the National Institute for Health Research, to see patients with medical conditions receive their medicine for free.
In 2018, Billy successfully campaigned to get medical cannabis legalised in the UK. Despite this landmark policy decision and calls from the National Institute for Health Research, there is no ongoing, government-funded clinical research into the efficacy of medical cannabis. It is therefore extremely difficult for medical cannabis patients in the UK to access their cannabis medicines on the NHS.
Currently, patient access is primarily inhibited by the lack of certified UK-specific data to support the efficacy of medical cannabis. Thousands of patients across the UK are forced to pay each month to receive their potentially life-saving cannabis medicines through private clinics.
Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell said: “Myself and Billy are overwhelmed with the fantastic support that we have received travelling across the country – we have met friends, supporters and patients and will never forget any of you.
“We’ve arrived in Westminster today to meet MPs, hand deliver my response to the Prime Minister and to once and for all unlock the tortuous deadlock for patients and our wonderful NHS doctors.
“We are politely calling on the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock to sit down today with us to discuss the next steps for allowing patients to access government funded medical cannabis.
“We have the solution, the expertise and the team are ready to go. Let’s end the misery of cannabis patients by finally allowing them access to the medicine that works for them whilst gathering much needed data on efficacy and safety of Cannabis Medicine “
I am Billy was born from years of grassroots campaigning by the Caldwell’s. As well as raising awareness, the campaign is aiming to provide patients with urgent NHS funding for cannabis medicines. You can donate to the fundraiser here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/walk-with-the-wizard-billy-caldwell-1000-miles-for-nhs-patients