Prime Minister Boris Johnson writes letter to Billy Caldwell

Article By: Jilly Beattie

In a letter to Charlotte Caldwell he said, "I completely understand how important it is that NHS patients are able to access the most effective treatments"

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed he was “deeply moved” by the plight of teenager Billy Caldwell during his four year battle to access medicinal cannabis as an NHS patient.

Mr Johnson took time out on Tuesday to write to Billy’s mum Charlotte - and he congratulated the Caldwells on having the UK’s first NHS care plan for the controversial drug.

Mr Johnson, wrote: “I sympathise deeply with those like Billy who are affected by drug-resistant epilepsy and other difficult to treat conditions.

“I completely understand how important it is that NHS patients are able to access the most effective treatments.

“I am glad to hear that Billy has received a care plan for his epilepsy that is the first of its kind in the UK and I sincerely hope that it is of great benefit to him.

“Furthermore, your story of how you have cared for Billy and how his illness had affected you, deeply moved me. I dearly hope that his new treatment plan has eased your fears somewhat.”

Billy, 15, received the first bottle of medicinal cannabis oil in October with a prescription and care plan paid for by the NHS.

The Co Tyrone teenager had been at the centre of battle for the alternative meds for four years and two years ago his plight attracted global focus after his oil was confiscated from his mum at Heathrow Airport as they returned from a medical trip in Canada.

After falling into potentially deadly back-to-back seizures, the meds were returned to Charlotte under special government measures.

And in November 2018, the UK government changed the law on medicinal cannabis.

However in the following two years no NHS doctor felt able to prescribe the medication due to the restrictions of the new law.

Charlotte Caldwell's fight for the life of her son continued and now the care plan and prescriptions are in place.

Charlotte said the letter from Mr Johnson was a vindication of her position, adding she was surprised and delighted her son and her care of him had been recognised by the Prime Minister.

Charlotte explained: “Finding this letter in the post today was a real surprise and I’m delighted. There have been so many ups and downs with the fight to keep Billy alive and make sure he has a good quality of life, but there have been many real delights too.

“We had people on our side and we had those who just didn’t support us, and then we had faceless people who did everything in their power to stop us in our tracks.

“Underestimating a loving mum is a silly thing to do. I would never give up on Billy and nothing anyone could do to me, would break me because I have to be here for him.

“This year I have gone from being reported to Social Services three times over my care of Billy to receiving a letter from the Prime Minister recognising my love and care for Billy.

"I think I’d describe that as a rollercoaster. Thankfully we are in a peaceful place right now and all I have to worry about is Billy’s welfare and health.”


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