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The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society is an independent community of medical cannabis pioneers – the first prescribers of this treatment in the UK. We believe that every patient who could benefit from medical cannabis should have access to it.

Though we are primarily are a society for clinicians and health care professionals, we think it’s crucial that patient voices are heard. To ensure we remain an inclusive, relevant, informed, and open organisation, we’re launching a patient committee, made up of medical cannabis patients and patient advocates from across the UK.  This patient committee will take the lead on our work with independent patient groups from across the sector. 

Members of the MCCS Patient Committee will be required to attend a bi-monthly online meeting where we will discuss priorities for the Society, feedback on publications and projects and discuss relevant developments. Membership is limited to 10. To apply, please email [email protected] with a brief cover letter explaining why you would like to be involved.  The closing date is Wednesday 15 July 2020. 

PLEA (Patient Led Engagement for Access) has been established to challenge the inequalities in access to cannabis-based medicinal products in the UK.

Despite the 2018 schedule change allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, patients are still faced with multiple barriers, including misinformation, stigma, and financial constraints, preventing access to potentially life-changing medicine.

PLEA’s mission is to advocate for quality of life with medicinal cannabis, aiming to enable patients to access their medicine free from the harms of stigmatisation, misinformation and financial barriers.

Patients are in need of assistance to navigate complex healthcare systems, clinicians wish to learn from patient experiences, and research is needed to evidence the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis. PLEA collaborates with patients, clinicians and researchers as one community, sharing knowledge and experiences in order to advance access to medical cannabis.

As with The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, PLEA is a non-profit, volunteer-run community interest company, enabling the team to advocate for patients free from commercial interference.

Working closely with Drug Science as a member of their Medical Cannabis Working Group, PLEA will support patients accessing Project Twenty21, Europe’s largest body of evidence for the safety and efficacy of prescribed medicinal cannabis.

Find out more about please visit www.pleacommunity.org.uk.

 

At The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, we’re dedicated to providing straightforward guidance, information and support for clinicians wishing to prescribe medical cannabis.  Doctors often come to us with questions about their professional indemnity and insurance coverage, with some insurers not including medical cannabis treatments in their packages.

In England, doctors working for NHS trusts and health and social care bodies are provided with indemnity insurance through the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST). Similar arrangements are in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Insurance for private practice

When it comes to being insured for prescribing medical cannabis, due to current prescribing restrictions, things are different. As medical cannabis in the UK is currently only available privately, doctors working outside of the NHS – often for the first time – have questions about how to arrange insurance and indemnity which covers this treatment.

The General Medical Council states that doctors working in private practice in the UK must have “adequate and appropriate insurance or indemnity arrangements in place covering the full scope of your medical practice”. This means that even if doctors are working privately within an NHS or health and social care body premises, they must still be covered.

Prof Michael Barnes, Chair of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society said, “Apart from two specific medications, Sativex and Epidiolex, medical cannabis – along with many other treatments – is at present classed as an unlicensed medicine. Doctors prescribing unlicensed products take full clinical responsibility for any consequences of the prescription and might not be covered by professional indemnity insurance. This is something that causes many clinicians concerns and prevents more widespread prescribing.

 Medical cannabis is a safe treatment with often significant benefits and few side effects. Clinicians can be reassured that if they prescribe within the legal parameters then they are very safe – although they still need insurance cover.”

 

Finding insurance that covers medical cannabis prescribing

When you are looking for new insurance, which includes medical cannabis, as a doctor operating in the private sector for the first time, or you’re renewing your existing coverage, it’s important to choose your provider well.

We spoke to Richard Cupit, from the Medical Caring Professions Division at Towergate Insurance about their coverage for UK doctors.

“Towergate is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in the UK and our medical division has been arranging insurance for members of the medical and caring professions for over 100 years. As leading specialists in this field, we’re committed to supporting the UK’s doctors who are looking to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients.

 At Towergate, we are able to offer competitive, bespoke and tailored insurances to both individuals and organisations in the medical cannabis sector, with coverage for all declared and agreed activities through our range of insurer partners.”

If doctors are already working privately, with insurance already in place, then it is important to check with your insurer that the changes in your scope of practice – i.e. starting to prescribe medical cannabis products – are included in your existing coverage.

 

Next steps

The route to becoming a medical cannabis prescriber in the UK can be a complex one, with regulations and rules to follow to ensure you are on the right side of the law. From being aware of the guidelines on medical cannabis to following the route for controlled drugs, read our guide ‘How to prescribe medical cannabis’, available here.

Read How to prescribe medical cannabis.

To obtain a quote for insurance or for more information, contact Richard Cupit Cert CII, Head of Business Development – Medical at Towergate Insurance Brokers. You can contact Richard on 07870 548854 / 01438 735271 or by visiting www.towergateinsurance.co.uk.