The mum whose campaign helped legalise medical cannabis, has opened her own dispensary – with the pharmacist who fulfilled the UK’s first NHS prescription for her son.
Hannah Deacon, whose son Alfie Dingley was the first patient to receive an NHS prescription for medical cannabis, has announced the launch of her own dispensary.
Botanical Health Dispensary, a new medical cannabis dispensary based in Deacon’s home town of Kenilworth, has been developed in partnership with the pharmacist who fulfilled Alfie’s prescription back in 2018.
Deacon’s campaign on behalf of Alfie, then six, helped change the law to legalise medical cannabis in the UK.
Alfie, who has a genetic condition which causes severe epilepsy, recently celebrated two years seizure free thanks to medical cannabis oil.
Deacon moved to Holland to access cannabis for Alfie, before coming back to the UK and launching her campaign.
In June 2018, Alfie made history when the Home Office granted his doctor, Professor Mike Barnes, the first licence to prescribe medical cannabis.
Pharmacist Caroline Harvey and Hannah became friends as they battled the red tape to get the treatment into the country.
Once Hannah had imported the oil Alfie needed, in July 2018 Caroline made history by dispensing the UK’s first legal NHS prescription for this type of cannabis for Alfie.
In doing so, the pair set up the route for all future patients in the UK.
Botanical Health Dispensary, alongside allied pharmacy Leyes Lane Pharmacy, aims to give medical cannabis patients in the UK greater choice and the opportunity to fulfil their prescriptions through an empathic, patients-first service, provided by an expert team who understands what it’s like to be a patient or have a patient in the family.
Deacon, who is co-founder of patient advocacy charity MedCan Support, as well as director of Maple Tree Consultants and the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, said: “When Alfie’s doctor, Prof Barnes, started work with the Home Office to get the schedule one licence needed to prescribe for Alfie, he needed to find a GP to prescribe under his direction, an importer, and most importantly, a pharmacist willing to dispense the medicine.
“Between us, we found Caroline, who was willing to dispense the products for Alfie and help our family. We knew we had found an expert and a friend dedicated to putting patients first from that moment.
She added: “We know what it’s like to be waiting for your prescription or be unsure about the process – we’ve been there – we knew that we could improve things for UK medical cannabis patients. That’s why I’m so proud to launch the Botanical Health Dispensary with Caroline.”
Harvey, a pharmacist with 35 years’ experience, leads a team of eight colleagues at Leyes Lane Pharmacy, Botanical Health Dispensary’s allied pharmacy based in Warwickshire.
“Speaking to patients about their prescribing experience of medical cannabis in the UK, I realised that many felt stuck, stressed, and ignored,” she said.
“So many don’t know that patients and doctors have the right to choose where and who fulfils a prescription or a repeat prescription. It’s no different for medical cannabis. Patients now have an independent choice in Botanical Health Dispensary.
“We provide people with a dispensing experience different from anything else available. To us, you’re a person first – never just a number or yet another prescription. So every patient really matters to us.”
Patients and doctors with medical cannabis prescriptions – first and repeat prescriptions – can visit www.botanicalhealthdispensary.co.uk or call the team on +4475922 94719 to learn more.
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