Belfast Telegraph

Cannabis row boy Billy to be allowed medication


Battle: Billy Caldwell with his mum Charlotte
Battle: Billy Caldwell with his mum Charlotte

By Lisa Smyth

The mum of Castlederg boy Billy Caldwell last night revealed that Government officials have told her they will return her son's life-saving medication.

Charlotte Caldwell said the Home Office has informed her they will allow 12-year-old Billy to be treated with cannabis oil - as long as it is done under the supervision of a doctor.

Efforts were under way last night to try and find a doctor happy to oversee the treatment.

It is a major breakthrough in Charlotte's campaign to be allowed to treat her son legally with medication that she credits with saving his life.

The dramatic U-turn by the Home Office came after Billy was rushed by ambulance to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London yesterday after his seizures intensified.

Describing his condition yesterday afternoon as critical, Charlotte said the Home Office would be accountable if he died.

A batch of the banned drug was confiscated from Charlotte at Heathrow Airport on Monday as she returned to the UK from Canada, where Billy was prescribed cannabis oil by doctors there.

A spokesman for Charlotte said last night: "Billy is doing all right and we are absolutely certain we are going to be able to get a doctor to oversee his treatment.

"This is a wonderful development and we are all delighted."

Billy started the treatment in 2016 in the US, where medical cannabis is legal.

He became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription after his GP in Northern Ireland, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts. But Dr O'Hare was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to desist.

Ms Caldwell made the trip to Toronto with Billy this week to get a six-month supply of the oil, however border officials later seized it.

Speaking yesterday as her son's condition deteriorated, she said: "Billy has had back-to-back seizures today. On his medication, which included the vital, but banned THC component, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days."

Belfast Telegraph


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