NHS to meet costs for mesh-injured women getting removal surgery in US
Women seeking surgery to remove transvaginal mesh implants will shortly be able to travel to the US on the NHS.
A contract between NHS Scotland and the Gynaecologic and Reconstructive Surgery of Missouri, where leading mesh expert Dr Dionysios Veronikis works, has been signed.
The announcement follows a long-running campaign by mesh survivors in Scotland, many of whom have suffered life-changing side effects from the initial surgery.
NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS) is now working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and other health boards to make arrangements for women wishing to travel to America for the surgery.
Arrangements are already in place for the first patients to travel to Bristol’s Spire Healthcare for similar surgery.
Under the agreements, women seeking removal of their mesh implant will be able to choose whether to travel to Bristol or Missouri for treatment.
All travel and accommodation costs will be met by the NHS.
Welcoming the new contract, health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I fully understand that women want mesh removal surgery undertaken by surgeons who enjoy their full confidence and a range of measures are now in place to ensure this happens. I am determined to ensure that those with mesh complications get the treatment they want and need.”
Hundreds of women in Scotland received transvaginal mesh implants to treat issues such as incontinence after childbirth.
But many were left in significant pain, chronic inflammation and infection as a result.
The use of surgical mesh was suspended in 2018 and the Scottish Parliament passed a bill to reimburse those women who have already travelled for removal surgery earlier this year.
Mary Morgan, NHS NSS chief executive, said: “This new approach supports our commitment to patient-centred care. The options now available mean that mesh-injured women benefit from a service that has been designed to address their concerns and improve their experience.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Scottish Government to ensure the success of the Scottish National Mesh Service.”