I am shocked and angry that so many women are suffering complications from transvaginal mesh implants. I am aware from reports that some women have been left in permanent pain, unable to walk, and unable to work because of the procedure.
NHS England established the Mesh Working Group to address the concerns raised by patients who had undergone this surgery. In its interim report, published in December 2015, the Director for Acute Care to NHS England acknowledged that the health system has not consistently delivered the best possible advice and care and has been working with an insufficiency of information for patients, clinicians, regulators and commissioners.
The Mesh Oversight Group succeeded the Mesh Working Group with the responsibility of overseeing the implementations of the recommendations set out in its 2015 report. In July 2017 NHS England published a report of the Mesh Oversight Group which claims that the information available to women and clinicians is now better and more consistent and that changes to the way surgery is recorded by hospitals and surgeons allows the NHS to collect more of the data regarding complications.
However, I know that many campaigners have expressed their disappointment with the report and are now calling for a full ban on mesh implants.
As you may be aware, on 18 July 2017 a meeting was held in Parliament, in conjunction with the ‘Sling the Mesh’ campaign, to discuss concerns about the impact on women’s health. An All-Party Parliamentary Group on mesh is in the process of being established. This will give MPs and other interested groups the opportunity to consider this issue further. I can assure you I will follow the progress of this group closely.
It is very important that people affected by the failures of those they trusted with their health are provided with support, and I hope that the current Government will carefully consider what can be done to provide justice for those who have been failed by the NHS. I also believe that if the prescription of these implants is to continue, the new openness about these problems can and must lead to significant improvements in the way any further mesh implants are designed, administered and monitored.