By Emily Ledger
Sapphire Medical Clinics was the first medical cannabis clinic in the UK to be approved to offer video consultations. The approval from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is expected to help improve patient access to medical cannabis products across the UK.
Access to medical cannabis remains difficult in the UK and specialist clinics are, as yet, few and far between. Although cannabis was legalised for medical use in 2018, prescriptions are rarely provided through the NHS. As a result, many patients have previously been forced to make long and journeys in order to attend consultations at approved clinics.
In order to address this issue, Sapphire Medical Clinics now provides a more convenient and accessible route to patients struggling to access the medications. In many cases, video consultations will remove the need for patients to undergo difficult journeys. Further, video consultations have now become a crucial service during the Coronavirus pandemic and ongoing lockdown.
Where clinically appropriate and when referred by their GP, patients may now attend their consultation with a specialist doctor through a video call. Additionally, Sapphire Medical Clinics now offer free telephone eligibility consultations.
Dr. Mike Platt, The Medical Director of the clinics and Consultant Pain Specialist acknowledged the difference that the change could make to patients:
“Many patients that I see are severely limited in their function and mobility so this news will provide a lifeline which allows them, under appropriate circumstances to access medications that can potentially transform their quality of life.”
While access to medical cannabis through the NHS remains rare and littered with barriers, private clinics offer patients a viable route to access the medication that works for them. Specialists cover conditions including cancer, epilepsy, pain conditions, psychiatric conditions, and neurological conditions, among others.
Managing Director of Sapphire Medical Clinics, Mikael Sodergren stressed the importance of the new consultation initiative:
“For many patients with chronic conditions travelling long distances is tiring, costly and for some also frightening. For others, it is simply not possible due to their underlying condition, mental health or physical disability.”
Sapphire Medical Clinics opened its first patient access clinic in London in August 2019 and has plans to open further clinics in other cities including Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool.
For more information, visit Sapphire Medical Clinics.