MPs call for boy with epilepsy to be given medical cannabis licence


MPs have called on the Home Office to issue a medical cannabis licence to a boy whose rare form of epilepsy improved after taking the drug.

Six-year-old Alfie Dingley, from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, suffers up to 30 violent seizures a day.

His parents want to treat him with medical cannabis oil, which is illegal in the UK.

In September, Alfie went to the Netherlands to take a cannabis-based medication.

The medication, which was prescribed by a paediatric neurologist, saw his seizures reduce in number, duration and severity.

‘Heartless and cruel’

Members of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on drug policy reform have now called on the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to issue a licence for Alfie to continue taking the medication, which he is currently not permitted to have in the UK.

Alfie’s grandmother Maggie said the treatment in the Netherlands meant “Alfie has gone from a death sentence to the prospect of a more normal life with school, friends and fun, in his own familiar home”.

“We want the people who have the power to give him this gift to put themselves in the position of Alfie’s family, to think creatively and with open minds and to find a way forward,” she added.

“Above all we want compassion to find a way round inflexible rules.”

Amber RuddImage copyrightEPA
Image captionMPs have called for Home Secretary Amber Rudd to issue a medical cannabis licence

At one point Alfie had 3,000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in a year.

His seizures, which can number up to 20 or 30 a day, can gradually be controlled in UK hospitals, but over time it is likely he would be institutionalised.

With the Dutch cannabis medication, it is estimated that Alfie would have about 20 seizures a year.

He stayed with his parents in a holiday camp in the Netherlands to receive the treatment, but without medical insurance in the country they had to return home in January.

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, co-chair of the APPG, said Ms Rudd “can grant a special licence for Alfie to get the drug he needs”.

“It would be heartless and cruel not to allow Alfie to access the medication,” he added.

“Parliament really must look at reforming our laws to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes, which has huge public support.”