Patients in the UK are one step closer to comprehensive medical cannabis access thanks to new online video consultations.
Sapphire Medical Clinics has become the first clinic of its kind to be approved by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to hold online medical cannabis video consultations with patients where clinically appropriate.
In a response to the demands of patients facing long and stressful travel times to clinics, the breakthrough opens up access to thousands of new patients who may not have medical cannabis clinics or specialists in their locality.
This landmark decision taken by the CQC recognises the commitment of Sapphire Medical Clinics to providing safe, compassionate and high-quality service to patients that adhere to the formal prescribing guidelines set by NHS England, MHRA and the GMC.
Medical Director of Sapphire Medical Clinics and Consultant Pain Specialist, Dr Mike Platt said: “Many patients that I see are severely limited in their function and mobility so this news will provide a lifeline which allows them, under appropriate circumstances to access medications that can potentially transform their quality of life. ”
Improving patient access in the UK
Sapphire Medical Clinics Sapphire Clinics has a team of doctors who help patients with access to medical cannabis – covering a number of specialisations including pain conditions, cancer, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological conditions and psychiatric conditions.
The new, online consultation service will help remove barriers to cannabis medicines for patients who are unable to attend the clinics due to mobility problems or geographic limitations.
Welcoming the decision, Frank Field, former Member of Parliament for Birkenhead between 1979 and 2019, who is a long-term advocate for medical cannabis, and who himself has benefitted from using medical cannabis products, said: “Whilst the end game must be far wider access to medical cannabis on the NHS, in the meantime I welcome this new innovative ‘video consultation’ service offered by Sapphire Medical Clinics. Any move that increases ease of access to medical cannabis under clinical supervision is a good thing.”
Managing Director of Sapphire Medical Clinics, Dr Mikael Sodergren said: “We are delighted by the decision taken by the Care Quality Commission today that will remove geographic barriers to accessing medical cannabis. For many patients with chronic conditions travelling long distances is tiring, costly and for some also frightening. For others it is simply not possible due to their underlying condition, mental health or physical disability. This decision means that in addition to being able to attend face to face assessments, patients can access video consultation where clinically appropriate.”
John Nixon, a 56-year-old patient from Middlesbrough said: “I am delighted by this news. This medicine has given me my life back. My arthritic pain was unbearable, it was in my hands, feet, knees and hips and it stopped me working as a Supervisor for my local hospital, a job I loved. I took a 40-hour round-trip to Sapphire Medical Clinics to secure my access as it was my only option.
“So, today’s breakthrough will just make things a little easier, giving me time to enjoy the activities that I have missed out on for many years such as sea fishing, which I have been able to do twice”.