The Sapphire Medical Clinic in London this month became the first in the UK to be approved by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to prescribe medical cannabis. The UK government legalised cannabis-based medicines last year for certain conditions, including some multiple sclerosis (MS) cases, but people have reported that it is almost impossible to access on the NHS. It is not recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland because it is not deemed cost effective. In Wales, doctors may prescribe it on the NHS for some cases of spasticity in MS.
Although the Sapphire isn’t the first clinic of its kind, it is the only one so far to have been approved by the CQC, which regulates and inspects health and social care services in England. The clinic can now write medical cannabis prescriptions for patients with qualifying conditions. At the moment, it is licensed for prescription for muscle spasms and stiffness in MS.
An appointment at the Sapphire clinic will cost £250. The cost of follow-up visits is £150. Once issued with a prescription, a patient can take the paperwork to any pharmacy in the UK, and the drugs will then be ordered in. This could mean there could be a lengthy wait, and the costs of private prescriptions can be high. For more information on the Sapphire clinic visit https www.sapphireclinics.com or call 020 7467 8345.