The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced that patients who are prescribed medical cannabis products will no longer need to travel to the Netherlands to collect their medication.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, patients or their family members travelled to the Netherlands to collect their medical cannabis prescriptions. Authorities in the Netherlands have forbidden the commercial export of cannabis oils but will allow the filling of individual prescriptions from EU states.
A delivery service from the Netherlands to Ireland to assist patients of licenced clinicians in obtaining their prescribed cannabis products was established in April 2020. This was on a temporary basis due to the Covid-19-related restrictions around travel.
The Minister has now confirmed that this will now be made permanent.
“Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my Department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives. They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication.
“I am so pleased that these problems will now be a thing of the past for them. There will no longer be a need for them to travel abroad in order to collect their prescribed cannabis products. Instead, they can focus on their health and wellbeing. The welfare of patients and their families comes first and I am happy to reassure them that they will no longer have to personally source their prescriptions," the Minister said.
Officials in the Department of Health are now expected to finalise the arrangements in respect of how the collection and delivery service will work on a permanent basis into the future.