The Government acted swiftly to change the law to allow cannabis-based products to be prescribed for those patients who might benefit, with advice from the chief medical officer and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. NHS England and the CMO have written to clinicians in England highlighting the interim clinical guidance available.
When the Government announced that they were prepared to allow medical cannabis under prescription, the decision was welcomed by many people throughout the United Kingdom who suffer from a range of conditions, but the process that has been adopted has failed to deliver. When will the Government take steps to facilitate GPs to prescribe and pharmacists to provide the appropriate effective forms of medical cannabis?
We commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to produce further guidance that should be out by October. Doctors are right to be cautious when the evidence base remains limited and further research in this area is vital. The change to the law will facilitate that. The National Institute for Health Research has called for research proposals to enhance our knowledge in the area and I think that that is absolutely right.
I call Alistair Carmichael. Where is the fellow? I hope that he is not in Orkney and Shetland because that would be a pity. Never mind, I am sure that we will see him ere long.