Belfast Telegraph

Billy Caldwell still faces four-hour round trip to get medication

By Rebecca Black

The Belfast Trust has said it is working "very hard" with the Department of Health to put in place arrangements for Billy Caldwell to receive medication at his Co Tyrone home.

It comes after the 12-year-old boy with severe epilepsy at the centre of a campaign to see cannabis oil licensed for medicinal use in the UK suffered a seizure.

Billy returned home to Northern Ireland on Thursday evening.

He had been in London for three weeks, receiving medical treatment.

The Home Office gave Billy, who has a rare form of epilepsy, a short-term licence to allow him access to cannabis oil, which his mother Charlotte says helps to control his seizures.

Uncertainty over the medication in Northern Ireland had placed a question mark over his return earlier this week.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the trust had secured a licence for medicinal cannabis and could administer it to the boy at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

However, Ms Caldwell expressed frustration over the arrangement at a hospital which is a two-hour drive from their home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Yesterday the Belfast Trust met with Ms Caldwell and advised her they were "working very hard" to put in place the necessary arrangements for Billy to receive his medication at home from early next week.

The Department of Health said: "Billy's welfare is our priority and the trust is working very hard with the Department of Health to put in place the necessary arrangements for Billy to receive his medication at home from early next week.

"This is a very complex and sensitive matter and a number of issues still have to be finalised.

"We have this afternoon met with Charlotte Caldwell and have advised her of the situation."

It is understood the negotiations are continuing within government to agree a long-term treatment plan for Billy.

Yesterday a spokesman for Billy's family said the boy had been taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast at 8.50am after suffering a seizure.

His family believe the seizure is due to stress and tiredness following the recent travel.

"Billy is high-spectrum autistic. Every doctor on the planet knows that he should be having familiarity and order in his life - his toys, his garden, his bed, his home," said Ms Caldwell.

"Instead he's being forced to endure the exact opposite."

Belfast Telegraph

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