Bury St Edmunds couple in search for answers on medical cannabis for chronic pain
A Bury St Edmunds man struggling to access medical cannabis to ease his partner’s chronic pain is appealing for answers.
Mick Fox has been trying to get medical cannabis prescribed for his partner Sue Stanton after a specialist private doctor recommended it.
Sue suffers long-term chronic pain which is now debilitating her life to a point she cannot enjoy any normal activities.
The law was changed in November 2018 to allow medical cannabis to be prescribed for certain conditions on the NHS, however the couple have had an unsuccessful search to find out for certain if it can be prescribed for Sue and, if so, how they would access it.
In a letter, the Department of Health confirmed it could be prescribed by a specialist doctor for chronic pain, however Mick's efforts to get it prescribed for Sue have been fruitless.
Sue said: “I don’t sleep. I can’t walk. I don’t have mental health issues but I’m depressed because of the pain. I have just given up living.
“People like me were given some hope it would be prescribed in November. All of a sudden I don’t know any more.”
Mick said: “The GPs know nothing about cannabis oil. They said go to the pain management clinic, but we have had appointments cancelled and we sit in limbo.
“If this cannabis oil could take two per cent off the pain that would be something. We know it might not work, we know that, but at the moment there is nothing else that works.”
He added: “Sue can’t be the only person in the country trying to get hold of it for pain.”
Mick has written to MP Jo Churchill about the matter. She said: "I have been in contact with Mr Fox, his specialist and the Department of Health and Social Care regarding this case and await a response from the department.
"Medical professionals are best placed to make decisions in the interest of patients regarding the prescribing of medication."
An NHS England spokesperson said: “The decision to prescribe medicinal cannabis is a clinical decision for specialist hospital doctors, made with patients and their families, to determine the most appropriate medication or course of treatment for an individual patient.”
West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said only specialist hospital doctors could prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products.
“Patients will not be able to get these items from their GP,” added a spokesman.