Mesh implant victims quit review ahead of “unrecognisable” report

Written by Tom Freeman on 6 March 2017 in News

Two patient representatives quit the independent mesh implants review group over claims they have not been heard

Surgery/ operation by Phalinn Ooi

Two women who suffered severe complications with mesh implant surgery have quit the independent review group tasked with investigating the safety of the practice.

Transvaginal mesh implants are medical devices used to treat organ prolapse and incontinence in women.

Following a petition by survivors of complications in the procedure in 2014, the Scottish Government ordered a suspension of their use while a review group investigated their safety.

It is due to report soon.


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Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes today told the BBC they were “saddened and appalled” that the forthcoming report has been altered and watered down since the interim report in 2015.

“Patient-friendly, shared-decision tables” had been destroyed, they said, and replaced with “clinician's directive counselling” which speaks only of the benefits of mesh implants.

“They just diluted the content in favour of mesh procedures,” McIlroy said.

“It seems to me unacceptable that they can risk even one patient suffering severe complications. It's not about the numbers, it's about the severity of the complications when things do go wrong.”

The latest resignations follow the departure of the group's chair Public Health expert Dr Lesley Wilkie, who stood down in December.​

Health secretary Shona Robison said she would meet with McIlroy and Holmes directly to hear their concerns. "The independent review continues its work to produce its final report and we expect them to publish it this Spring. I am grateful to all members for their expertise and considerable efforts over the years," she said.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who convenes the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, said the two patients had participated in the review “in good faith” to prevent there being further victims.

“But these latest revelations show that they have been strung along by the medical establishment and the Scottish Government,” he said. 

"The mesh scandal is a global scandal but in Scotland we had the chance to lead the world in protecting women from life changing injuries but instead of doing so the Government has shown themselves to be complicit in one of the biggest medical cover ups in the history of Scotland's NHS." 

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