A 13-year-old boy has written to the First Minister urging her to help get an NHS prescription for the medicinal cannabis that helps keep his brother safe.
Dean Gray penned the heartfelt message to Nicola Sturgeon with the hope that it will spur the Scottish Government to help families who would benefit from the drug.
His eight-year-old brother, Murray, suffers from severe, complex epilepsy and suffered hundreds of seizures a day before he started receiving medicinal cannabis.
In the letter, Dean said: “I hardly spent any time with my mum two years ago as she was always in hospital with my little brother.
“This took a toll on me personally as I didn’t fully understand what was going on and felt anxious for my brother.
“He has not had a seizure now in two years because my mum got him cannabis oils.
“This means I get to spend more time with my mum and my brother, which I love to do.
“She is having to pay £1,300 every month for this medicine.
“I don’t think it’s fair that my mum and dad have to pay this.
“Please can you do something to help us?”
Currently, there is a near-total block on NHS prescriptions for this type of medicinal cannabis.
Legalisation in 2018 allowed access to medical cannabis from the health service, however, there have been only three NHS prescriptions across the UK.
It means other families with similarly affected children are having to pay privately for the medicine at a cost of up to £2,000 a month.
Peter Carroll, director of End Our Pain, said, “This situation is bizarre and cruel.
“The UK Government legalised a medicine, but hardly anyone can have it.
“Surely it can’t be beyond the wit and capability of one of the largest health services in the world to sort this out.
“The families denied NHS prescriptions are being forced to fundraise to be able to pay privately.
“This added worry and pressure has pushed these families to breaking point emotionally and financially.
“We fully support Dean’s direct appeal to the First Minister – we urge her to intervene.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have enormous sympathy for Murray Gray, his brother Dean, and all of the family and we appreciate the very difficult situation any family will face in these circumstances.
“We will reply privately to the letter once received.
“However, the decision on whether to prescribe any medicine for a patient, and which medicine to prescribe, is entirely one for clinicians to make – it would be inappropriate for Scottish Ministers to make or influence prescribing decisions.
“Any NHS prescription that is made in line with the regulations on the use of medicinal cannabis prescribing, as set by the UK Government, will be fulfilled by the NHS.”