Charlotte Caldwell ‘on home straight’ in medicinal cannabis battle

Charlotte Caldwell, with her son Billy
Charlotte Caldwell, with her son Billy

Co Tyrone boy Billy Caldwell could be able to return home if an application from the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children for cannabis-based medication to treat his epilepsy is approved.

Billy suffers from a form of epilepsy that causes frequent, severe and life-threatening seizures.

Doctors have been using a form of medication based on the illegal drug cannabis, which his mother Charlotte says has helped bring his condition under control.

However, the drug’s use is in an uncertain legal position in the UK, and Charlotte has been campaigning to have it changed.

On Friday, an ‘expert panel’ set up by the Home Office began accepting applications from senior clinicians to prescribe cannabis-based medicines.

Announced in Parliament last week, the panel is being led by the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride.

An application is being put forward by Chris Hagan, from the Children’s Hospital in Belfast, for “cannabis-based products for Billy”.

Writing on Facebook, Charlotte Caldwell said she was “crying happy tears” following the news, adding: “We’re on the home straight.”

In an earlier post, she reflected on a “frantic” week that started with the confiscation of Billy’s medicine at Heathrow Airport and culminated in the setting up of the expert panel.

She said: “Seeing and hearing Home Secretary Sajid Javid telling parliament that the government agrees something must be done and done urgently was incredible.”