Effective ban for mesh implants in Scotland announced

Written by Tom Freeman on 12 September 2018 in News

Chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood writes to health boards to immediately halt mesh implants for incontinence and organ prolapse

Jeane Freeman mesh statement - Scottish Parliament

NHS Scotland is to halt the use of transvaginal mesh implants to treat incontinence and organ prolapse, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.

The procedure has been suspended in Scotland for four years while a safety review was carried out, and then a subsequent review into the process of the first review was launched after it was branded an industry-led ‘whitewash’.

Another 500 women have undergone the procedure since, despite warning of severe complications in some cases.

Last week the implant was listed as a factor in a death for the first time.

In a statement to MSPs, Freeman said the Chief Medical Officer had told health boards to “immediately halt” use of transvaginal mesh “pending the implementation of a new restricted use protocol, that will ensure procedures are only carried out only in the most exceptional circumstances”.

Women currently waiting for the treatment will be given the option to go ahead, but no further patients will be offered it in the meantime, she said.

The move was welcomed by Scottish Conservative Jackson Carlaw and Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay who have campaigned on the issue, who questioned the integrity of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA), who authorised the products, and asked when the review of the review is due.

Freeman said she did not know when the independent review would arrive.

She added: “What I have attempted to do today is listen to the women who have campaigned on this issue and recognise the evidence that has been put before me.”

Former SNP health secretary Alex Neil, who ordered the original review into the procedure, also called for the MRHA to be tackled across the UK.

“A regulator funded by the industry it is supposed to regulate is not fit for purpose,” he said.

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