Home Office considers options on cannabis oil for epileptic boy

Posted On: 
16th June 2018

The Home Office has said it will “carefully consider” allowing a young boy in a life threatening condition to be prescribed cannabis oil as he battles severe epilepsy in hospital.

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy
PA Images

Twelve-year-old Billy Caldwell had the product confiscated at Heathrow airport on Monday after flying into the UK from Canada.

Yesterday, he was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after his seizures intensified.

In a statement, the Home Office said: “We are deeply sympathetic to the extremely difficult situation that Billy and his family are in.

"Billy is in the care of medical professionals who are best placed to assess the care and treatment that he requires.

"The Home Office is contacting Billy's medical team. If the team treating Billy advise a particular course of urgent action, the Home Office will carefully consider what options are available to help facilitate that advice."

Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, has said it is “beyond cruelty” to have denied her son the medication.

"We've now reached the point where Billy is too ill to travel to get his medication, but his medication is stored minutes away from where we're now living in London,” she said.

"Despite the best and honest efforts of the NHS, frontline doctors are fighting Billy's condition with both hands tied behind their back because the only medication that will be effective is the cannabis oil.”

She said doctors familiar with her son’s case said his situation was life-threatening.

Billy was prescribed cannabis oil in 2016 in the US and last month found out that he would not, as expected, become the first person in the UK to be given the treatment.

The product is illegal in Britain because it contains a small quantity of THC.