SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has warned that the Home Office have overstepped their brief by issuing a legal letter to a local GP who has been proscribing medicinal cannabis to a 12 year-old boy who suffers from severe epilepsy. Billy Caldwell has been reacting well to the treatment, but the family are anxious as they only have enough of the life-saving drug to last until June. Ms Caldwell has said that officials have signed her son's 'death warrant' by undermining health professionals.
The MLA for Foyle said:
"I am appalled that the Home Office have reacted so heavy-handedly to a very sensitive and high profile case.
"It has been clear from the start that Billy's GP has issued this treatment in good faith to save a young boys life, not to open the floodgates to inappropriate drug use. Medical professionals sign a Hippocratic oath to ensure patients get the care they need, and this action by bureaucrats has undermined that oath.
"The SDLP will be writing to the Home Office to ask them to retract the letter sent to Dr O'Hare on the basis that a child could needlessly die. We will also be ensuing the Department to state their rationale for warning Dr O'Hare from writing anymore proscriptions.
"This is another example of why we need the Assembly reinstated as a matter of urgency to ensure we can make our own laws around these sensitive issues and not take direction from London."