By Roland Sebestyén
Billy and Charlotte Caldwell will finish their 1000-mile-long fundraiser walk in Westminster to invite the Health Secretary and other government officials to meet and discuss a specially designed study for medical cannabis.
As part of the “I am Billy campaign”, Billy and Charlotte Caldwell started their walk in Belfast and will reach London via the British Crown Dependency Islands on Monday.
The aim of the campaign is to raise much-needed funds for the UK’s most vulnerable, chronically ill patients from the most deprived areas. The funds will support patients with a wide spectrum of conditions that desperately need access to medical cannabis.
The “I am Billy campaign” is also calling for the UK’s first specially designed study, to be paid for by the National Institute for Health Research, to see patients with eligible medical conditions receive free access to their medicine.
Charlotte Caldwell, mother of epileptic child Billy 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’ll be arrived in Westminster on Monday 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.”
In 2018, Billy successfully campaigned to get medical cannabis legalised in the UK – and in 2020, he became the first UK patient to receive lifelong medicinal cannabis prescription on the NHS.
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.
If you would like to help Billy and Charlotte’s fundraiser, you can donate by clicking on this link.