Parents of a teenager with severe epilepsy say they fear for their son’s life if they are no longer able to afford life-changing cannabis treatment that they say is “financially crippling” them. Bailey Williams, 19, suffers from epilepsy, which can cause him to have hundreds of seizures a day, but his condition was greatly improved when he started taking cannabis-based medication. Without the oil, Bailey, who lives with his family in Fairwater in Cardiff, may suffocate or hurt himself falling over, meaning he can never be left alone. His parents also fear that his body may need to be “shut down” in hospital if he comes off the treatment. However, while medical cannabis was legalized in the UK and made available on prescription in 2018, many families like Bailey’s have been forced to go private to access the treatment. Pressure group End Our Pain – of which Bailey’s parents, Rachel Rankmore and Craig Williams are members – says only three NHS prescriptions have been issued in the UK since the law change. The Welsh Government said that doctors must take account of evidence and guidelines before prescribing the treatment.
Now, the teenager’s desperate parents are calling on the UK and Welsh government to allocate emergency funds to families in their position, as they fear losing their son, if they are forced to pay the £1,200 needed to obtain the oil each month.
“It’s absolutely crippling,” said Rachel.