Mother of sick daughter at 'end of tether' over five year medical cannabis fight with NHS

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

A mother whose daughter has a rare and severe form of epilepsy says she's at the end of her tether over a five year fight to get her daughter to receive medical cannabis on the NHS.

Emma Appleby from Aylesham near Canterbury, Kent has been paying up to £2,000 a month to get a private prescription, which has become unsustainable.

She joined other families in Westminster in a demonstration calling for medicinal cannabis to introduced more widely after the Government legalised the drug for health purposes in 2018.

Emma's 14-year old daughter Teagan Appleby has a rare condition where she can suffer hundreds of seizures a day.

Families marched to Westminster today in protest over the lack of widely-available medical cannabis on the NHS Credit: ITV News

The teenager's mother said, "We've been fighting for five years to have access to medical cannabis on the NHS. And we've been paying privately for four and a half years, which is costing us thousands of pounds a month.

"And we're at the point now where money is running out. We're actually at the end of our tether. We don't know what to do next."

Teagan has been in hospital for almost two weeks after suffering an aggressive episode.

When she has received medical cannabis privately it has a huge positive effect on her life.

Emma said, "It's changed her life. In 2019, before she started it she was intensive care for two and a half months fighting for her life and seizuring 300 times a day.

"She had no quality of life at all. And then when we started it, it's just given her back her smile. She's happy. She can do typical things like a little girl should be doing."

Medical cannabis remains under the investigative spotlight, and while plants are being cultivated for health uses, just two drugs have been licensed on the NHS.

The Government said routine funding is only given when there is clear evidence of quality, safety and effectiveness and says it's encouraging manufacturers of unlicensed products to help support more research.

Teagan full of bounce in 2021 after receiving a private prescription Credit: ITV Meridian

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said,

"In 2018, we changed the law to allow specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products, where clinically appropriate, and making it easier to conduct research on these products.

"Licensed cannabis-based medicines are routinely funded by the NHS where there is clear evidence of their quality, safety and effectiveness.

"We are taking an evidence-based approach to unlicensed cannabis based treatments to ensure they are proved safe and effective before they can be considered for roll out on the NHS more widely."

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