Billy Caldwell ‘could go home this week’ after medicinal cannabis licence change
Epilepsy warrior Billy Caldwell is to be granted an historical lifetime licence for medicinal cannabis issued under new government guidelines, the Mirror can reveal.
It means the youngster could be back in his own home within a week.
And the move will pave the way for more licences to be set in place as international clinical data on cannabis based treatments is shared with the UK.
Billy, 12, from Northern Ireland became the poster boy for a change in law on medical marijuana after his anti-epilepsy drugs were confiscated at Heathrow Airport on June 11 after an order by Home Office minister Nick Hurd.
An email to Charlotte and her campaign team this weekend, stated the paediatric neurology team at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children has now started Billy’s application process.
It said: “[We] will complete the application for cannabis based products for Billy and present this to the Expert Panel.
“In the interim until a formal decision is received, [we] await formal advice from their professional body with respect to prescribing this particular cannabis oil preparation.
“In the event that Mrs Caldwell would wish Billy to be transferred back to the care of the medical at the Children’s Hospital in Belfast, we will do all we can to facilitate this transfer.”
The letter from Dr Chris Hagan, Deputy Medical Director said his team would be moving “quickly and effectively” and “without ambiguity.”
The news was heralded as “history in the making” by Charlotte Caldwell this afternoon.
She said: “This is what we have been waiting for. This is what every parent of a child who believes they need medicinal cannabis has been waiting for.
“Time is ticking by for each of those children.
“And I’ve now been assured that Billy’s anti-epilepsy medication which was prescribed to him in Canada will be available by Thursday when the first bottle runs out. "
“After that we’ll have his licence and his GP will be able to prescribe him just as he did before.
“This is history in the making. The fight for Billy is won. I’m exhausted but elated.
“But the work to have the clinical led team ensure other children will have the same access must continue without haste.
“The push is on to get the GMC and the Royal College of Paediatricians to provide guidelines to the government this week.”
Charlotte spent Sunday with her son in a private garden in Earlscourt, London and welcomed a surprise visitor.
The sister-in-law of Nick Hurd, the Home Office Minister who initially barred Charlotte from bringing medicinal cannabis into the UK for her epileptic son, joined them to personally offer her support.
Sarah Hurd has admitted using similar products to treat chronic shoulder pain despite knowing it was an outlawed substance.
After her symptoms lessened while on the treatment, Sarah, 48, who is married to the Minister’s younger brother Alexander, joined the campaign for the legalisation of medical cannabis.
And on Sunday she visited Charlotte for a coffee in West London and brought Billy, 12, a toy.
Charlotte added: “Sarah joined Billy and I for coffee today. She’s an inspiration.
“It was such a lovely thing to show me and Billy that we have her support.
“We’ve been trapped in London having to visit the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital twice a day for Billy’s medication.
“Since June 11, Billy, who is autistic, has been forced to live a life that every specialist in his condition would be appalled about.
“We’ve been living out of a suitcase, a hospital bedroom and now a hotel room. He is missing his sensory toys, his own garden, his own bed and his familiar surroundings.
“It has broken my heart. Today we borrowed a garden and I couldn’t resist letting my wee warrior have a run around.
“My heart soared watching him running, laughing and enjoying the sunshine. And then to know we’ll be making our way home soon, it’s been liberating.
“I’m feeling truly honoured and privileged that Sarah joined us on such a special day. I just can’t thank her enough for her support, for her friendship."
She added: “Billy was always my priority but now we’re working to get access to anti-epileptic seizure medication for thousands of other families.
“Billy will never understand. Ever. That’s the fact of the matter.
“Billy has me, he has his toys, he has an engaging smile, he captured the heart of the utterly wonderful staff at hotel where we based a lot of the campaign.
“They knew exactly what was going on but maintained a discretion and dignity, and, when one of the staff congratulated the team on what we’d achieved, almost provoked a tear.
“Billy can’t thank anybody. It’s impossible. But he can reward with his own type of engagement.
“When you’re going through hell, keep going and that’s exactly what we’re doing."
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