LUCY Haslam was sceptical the state government’s hands-off approach would mean quicker access to medicinal cannabis for those in chronic pain.
NSW Health will no longer oversee approvals of medicinal cannabis requests, meaning NSW patients will rely on a single assessment by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
However, the Tamworth-based advocate has her doubts over the government’s assertion the move will cut waiting times for marijuana from months to as little as 36 hours.
“I guess I’m sceptical after years of experience with government announcements,” Mrs Haslam told The Leader.
“It doesn't answer any questions about what products would be available, which patients could access them and which GPs could prescribe.
“The proof will be in the numbers, very few have gotten through to date.”
Mrs Haslam has continued to rally for the drug to be more freely accessible in the three years since her son’s death.
While there’s been monumental victories, the heavily red-taped process has left those in chronic pain without relief and allowed the black market to flourish.
She said GPs should be able to prescribe without “additional layers” of approval and the drug should be made available to a wider group of people.
“It needs a major overhaul,” she said.
“I really hope this is the first step in the government admitting they got it wrong.”
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he’d support a move towards doctors wanting to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Nationals MLC Trevor Khan said it was a step towards a more streamlined process.
“We argued strongly that we needed compassion and care for patients, while at the same time we needed to help doctors get more confidence in prescribing medicinal cannabis by running important clinical trials which gives them the evidence they need,” Mr Khan said.
“Today, we have taken huge steps to better help people with a streamlined application process that meant doctors wanting to prescribe unregistered cannabis medicines would typically get approval within 36 hours.”
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said it was a great outcome for the community and thanked Mrs Haslam “for her tireless advocacy and unstinting support for a better process”.