Kenilworth MP praises 'dignity' of family after medical cannabis licence given to Alfie

The MP for Kenilworth and Southam Jeremy Wright has paid tribute to the family of Kenilworth schoolboy Alfie Dingley, who has finally been granted a licence for medical cannabis treatment.

Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 11:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th June 2018, 4:28 pm
Alfie Dingley, six, will be granted a licence for his severe epilepsy to be treated with medical cannabis
Alfie Dingley, six, will be granted a licence for his severe epilepsy to be treated with medical cannabis

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced six-year-old Alfie, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy, would get a licence for medical cannabis treatment in the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday June 19).

And Mr Wright praised the patience and dignity of Alfie's mother Hannah Deacon and the rest of his family during their fight to get Alfie the treatment he needs.

He said: "I think they've been amazing. I don't think I would be behaving as rationally if I were in their position.

Hannah Deacon (left), Alfie's mother, had been fighting for Alfie to get the treatment he needed for many months

"They've demonstrated immense commitment to Alfie's welfare, and amazing patience.

"People should be hugely impressed at the way this family has fought Alfie's corner but also how they've done it in a way that's been dignified against incredible pressure."

Alfie suffers from a very rare form of epilepsy known as PCDH19, which causes him to suffer intense ‘clusters’ of seizures. This often puts him in hospital and interferes with his schooling.

Hannah had been holding out for the Home Office to grant Alfie a special licence to treat the condition with medical cannabis. A previous course of the treatment in the Netherlands had eased Alfie's symptoms considerably.

Jeremy Wright MP has praised the family's dignity and patience throughout their long wait

But after the Prime Minister Theresa May said a decision would be made 'speedily' on Alfie's case back in April, the decision was not made until yesterday.

Mr Wright said Alfie's case was unique, and that a long-term licence for Alfie to be treated with medical cannabis was unprecedented. In the case of Billy Caldwell from Northern Ireland, his licence was granted because it was a medical emergency.

He claimed that a lot of work had been going on behind the scenes between the Home Office and doctors, and that Mr Javid did not simply make the decision based on the increased media attention Billy's case brought.

Mr Wright said: "The Home Office needed to be sure - this licence was groundbreaking."

Mr Javid also announced a review into the current laws on medical cannabis so that cases like Alfie's could be dealt with much more quickly.

When asked if he would support a change in the law, Mr Wright said: "I think there's a good case to be made for this.

"What we're taking about is medication with a cannabis base - not for recreational use.

"We do need to get on with this but we do need to take the trouble to consult with experts."